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Game Preview: Stockton Thunder Vs. Victoria Salmon Kings

November 7, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) Stockton Thunder

FACEOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT
SITE: Stockton Arena
RADIO: 1420-AM KSTN
INTERNET: www.stocktonthunder.com (B2 Networks)

2008-09 HEAD TO HEAD SERIES
10/24/08 Thunder 5 at Victoria 2
10/25/08 Thunder 2 at Victoria 5
10/26/08 Thunder 3 at Victoria 1
11/7/08 Victoria 7:30 p.m.
11/8/08 Victoria 7:30 p.m.
12/27/08 Victoria 7:30 p.m.
12/28/08 Victoria 4:00 p.m.
1/27/09 @ Victoria7:05 p.m.
1/28/09 @ Victoria7:05 p.m.
3/28/09 Victoria 7:30 p.m.

MILESTONE TRACKER

o Mike Lalonde is 12 points away from surpassing Nathan Martz as the Thunder career scoring leader
o Ryan MacMurchy is 11 games away from 100 in his professional career
o Cory Urquhart is 19 goals away from 100 in his ECHL career

TONIGHT'S MATCHUP

The Thunder return home for the first time since Oct. 18 with a two-game weekend series Victoria Salmon Kings, the fourth and fifth of 10 meetings between both clubs for the season (tied for most with Fresno). The series celebrates "Thunder Goes Pink III," a signature event designed to raise funds for breast cancer education, prevention and awareness. The Thunder is 4-0-0 in the history of the series and swept the Idaho Steelheads last season in the two back-to-back games on Nov. 2-3. The Thunder is 9-11-3 lifetime against the Salmon Kings and is 2-1-0 against the Salmon Kings this season.

TONIGHT'S GUEST

The Stockton Thunder welcomes staff from the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League to tonight's game, attended by Oilers goaltending coach Pete Peeters.

THE TRADITION CONTINUES - PINK STYLE

Thunder Goes Pink III presented by St. Joseph's Medical Center in association with County Bank and MetroPCS is an annual two game series at Stockton Arena featuring games played on a pink-tinted ice surface, to help spotlight and raise funds for breast cancer awareness effort. The Thunder, and its signature partner St. Joseph's Medical Center, are joining together to raise funds for the American Cancer Society - Stockton Field Office and the St. Joseph's Foundation - Breast Cancer Services. The Thunder has a perfect 4-0-0 record in the past two years of the event (vs. Idaho, Phoenix, Long Beach), has raised a combined $73,000 for beneficiaries and drew nearly 18,000 fans (including a sell-out crowd of 9,737 on November 3) to the two-game series against Idaho last year. For each ticket sold this year, $2 will be donated to the beneficiaries.

CROWDING OUT THE ECHL

The Thunder finished last year as the ECHL's attendance champions for the third consecutive season and drew four capacity crowds of 9,737 this year at Stockton Arena. It was the second straight year the Thunder has surpassed the mark of 230,000 fans for one season. The Thunder's yearly attendance total finished at 239,337, an average of 6,648 fans per game. The Thunder became the first team since 2004-05 to lead the ECHL in attendance for three straight seasons (Florida led the ECHL in attendance for five straight seasons). Stockton opened the 08-09 regular season with a crowd of 8,723 at Stockton Arena on Oct. 18 vs. Fresno, the largest ECHL crowd for the opening weekend.

THUNDER VS. SALMON KINGS: SEASON SERIES RECAP

The Thunder is 2-1-0 vs. Victoria this season: Rookie Garet Hunt's first two goals of his pro career and Justin Chwedoruk's three points helped guide the Thunder to its first victory of the regular season in a 5-2 win over the host Victoria Salmon Kings in the first matchup of both clubs ... rookie goaltender Bryan Pitton made 30 saves for the first victory of his professional career, spoiling Victoria's home opener where the club raised its 2008 West Division championship banner in a pre-game ceremony ... Victoria defeated the Thunder the next night 5-2 behind Wes Goldie's two goals ... in the Sunday capper of a three-game/three-day stretch, rookie James Bates scored two points (1g-1a) which included his first career pro goal and rookie goaltender Bryan Pitton made 25 saves to help guide the Thunder (2-3-0, 4 points) to a 3-1 victory over the Victoria Salmon Kings ... Bryan Lerg had the game winner while Chwedoruk added an insurance goal.

LAST THREE THUNDER GAMES

11/1/08 - STK 8 at BAK 3: Jeff Kyrzakos scored four points (2g-2a), tying a career-high, to help the Thunder (3-4-0, 6 points) salvage a six-game road trip with a 3-3-0 run and score a club record eight goals in one game in an 8-3 rout of the Bakersfield Condors before a crowd of 5,204 at Rabobank Arena. Rookie goaltender Andrew Perugini, who won in his pro debut after waiting the first week of the regular season for his immigration status to clear, made 32 saves. The Thunder's five goals in the second period broke the club record for most goals in one period.

10/31/08 - STK 1 at LV 5: Goaltender John DeCaro made 20 saves and five different goal scorers for the Las Vegas Wranglers helped send the Thunder (2-4-0, 4 points) to a 5-1 defeat before a crowd of 3,381 at Orleans Arena on Friday night. The game was the first rematch between both teams since the National Conference Quarterfinal round of the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Veteran Chris Ferraro led Las Vegas in scoring with a three point effort (1g-2a) and a +4 rating. Thunder rookie forward James Bates scored his second goal in as many games in the second period.

10/26/08 - STK 3 at VIC 1: Rookie James Bates scored two points (1g-1a) which included his first career pro goal and rookie goaltender Bryan Pitton made 25 saves to help guide the Thunder (2-3-0, 4 points) to a 3-1 victory over the Victoria Salmon Kings, before a crowd of 3,733 at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre on Sunday. Bryan Lerg scored the eventual game-winning goal, a shorthanded marker in the second period while Justin Chwedoruk added an insurance goal in the third period.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

"We have good skilled players, and I think our puck movement has been really good on special teams," Cichocki said. "That's a key."

- Head Coach Chris Cichocki on the Thunder power play and penalty kill units, The Record, 11/4/08

"Dynamic - that's the word for (Urquhart)," Cichocki said. "He's a guy that makes something out of nothing."

- Head Coach Chris Cichocki on forward Cory Urquhart (Thunder scoring leader with 9 points in 5 games), The Record, 10/31/08

HARDCORE CORY

Forward Cory Urquhart is the Thunder scoring leader with 11 points (3g-8a) in seven games and enters the day ranked tied for 9th in ECHL scoring (shared with five players). Urquhart was runner-up for In Glas Co ECHL Player of the Week honors for the week of Oct. 20 with eight points (3g-5a) in four games. Urquhart, who was originally selected in the second round (40th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, has four multi-point games this season.

STEP UP TO THE MIKE

Returning to the lineup this season is left wing Mike Lalonde, who is the Thunder all-time leading goal scorer with 53 goals. Selected as the first player in Thunder history to the ECHL All-Star Game (2006), Lalonde led the ECHL with 308 shots and paced the Thunder with 29 goals as a rookie in 2005-06. Lalonde spent last season with Tilburg of the Netherlands League, guiding his team to the Dutch Cup and scoring 92 points (43g-49a) in just 34 games.

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