May 5, 2013 - ECHL (ECHL) - Stockton Thunder
BOISE, Idaho - Andrew Clark buried a wrist shot during a goal mouth scramble with 8:21 left in sudden death overtime to lift the Stockton Thunder to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Idaho Steelheads in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final before 2,769 fans at Century Link Arena on Sunday.
Clark's goal thwarted a two goal comeback by Idaho in the third period and put the Thunder to within two wins of reaching the Kelly Cup Finals for their first time in club history.
Maxime Boisclair and Matt Bergland chipped in for Stockton's goals. Idaho was paced by Adrian Foster's two goals in the third period while goaltender Olivier Roy improved to 7-0 lifetime in playoff overtime with 36 saves.
"I liked that we built a lead early because of a major push from Idaho - we knew they weren't going to go away," said Thunder head coach Matt Thomas. "I also liked how we continued to respond. We weathered the storm, created momentum for ourselves and wound up cashing in."
STOCKTON VS. IDAHO - WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (all times listed PT)
(Stockton leads series, 2-0)
Game 1: Stockton 3 at Idaho 1
Game 2: Stockton 4 at Idaho 3 (OT)
Game 3: Idaho at Stockton - Wednesday, May 8 - 7:00 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 4: Idaho at Stockton - Friday, May 10 - 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena)
Game 5: Idaho at Stockton - Saturday, May 11 - 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena) *
Game 6: Stockton at Idaho - Monday, May 13 - 6:10 p.m. (Century Link Arena) *
Game 7: Stockton at Idaho - Tuesday, May 14 - 6:10 p.m. (Century Link Arena) *
Stockton also won its 11th straight playoff overtime game, dating back to the 2009-10 season.
Boisclair got the Thunder on the board on a wrist shot from between the circles, converting off the rush with 6:36 left in the first period for a 1-0 lead. Idaho answered with 42 seconds left with Austin Smith's seventh goal of the playoffs, stashing Chase Schaber's centering pass through the five hole of Olivier Roy.
Bergland restored the Thunder lead at 2-1 at 13:45 of the second period when he skated to the net and deflected Harrison Reed's centering bid past the blocker of Josh Robinson for his sixth goal of the playoffs.
The Thunder took momentum into the third period and earned a key insurance goal by Hayes, his second of the series for a 2-1 lead just 51 seconds in with a wrister from the slot. But Idaho battled back with a pair of goals by Foster, beginning with a power play goal at 6:48 to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The play followed a penalty to Thunder defenseman Tony DeHart, whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct after he tried to stop at the Idaho net during whistle and snow from his skates blew into Robinson's mask.
Foster buried a rebound for his second goal to level the game, 3-3 with 6:43 left in regulation.
Overtime began with Idaho cycling the puck in deep and Smith earning a chance at the net, but Roy turned his backhander away to keep the game alive.
The Thunder threatened a few minutes later when Clark had a second chance bid lined up in the slot. He missed picking the upper left corner on Robinson.
Stockton then went to work for the overtime winner after Idaho's Tyler Gron coughed the puck up in his own zone. Hayes misfired on a shot from the left circle, but Landon Oslanski got his own rebound after a subsequent stop by Robinson at the right circle.
With Idaho scrambling to get in position, Oslanski put a tape-to-tape pass onto Clark's stick, who buried the chance from between the circles for the winning goal to send the Thunder flying off the bench.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Ryan Constant and Cameron Abney ... the Thunder improved to 9-4 lifetime in Game 2 scenarios and five of the last six games have been won in overtime ... Idaho outshot the Thunder 39-26 ... Clark has goals in five of the last six playoff games ... the Thunder has won four straight road playoff games ... Robinson took the loss for Idaho with 24 saves.
The series shifts to Stockton Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday, beginning at 7:00 p.m. (1280 AM KWSX/StocktonThunder.com).
A two time recipient of the ECHL "Award of Excellence," the Thunder led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew over 200,000 fans for the seventh consecutive season in 2011-12. Season Tickets, Group Tickets and Mini-Plans for 2012-13 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit www.StocktonThunder.com
1. IDH - A. Foster
2. STK - A. Clark
3. STK - R. Hayes