May 5, 2013 - ECHL (ECHL) - Idaho Steelheads
Boise, ID (5/5/13) - Andrew Clark's rebound goal from the slot at 11:39 of sudden-death overtime lifted the visiting Stockton Thunder to a 4-3 victory over the Idaho Steelheads Sunday night at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.
With the win, the Thunder take a two games to none lead in the best-of-seven ECHL Western Conference Finals. Game 3 is Wednesday night at 8 PM (Mtn) at Stockton Arena in Stockton, CA.
The Thunder would take a first-period lead on Maxime Boisclair's shot from the slot at 14:24 of the opening frame. Idaho tied the game when Chase Schaber and Austin Fyten won battles behind the Stockton net, getting the puck to Austin Smith on top of the crease for a quick, five-hole shot between Olivier Roy's net for his seventh goal of the postseason at 19:18 to tie the game, 1-1, after one period.
Stockton re-took the lead on a Matt Bergland goal, a bang-bang goal on a pass from the right wing wall at 12:52 of the second period as the Thunder took a one-goal lead into the third period for the second consecutive game.
Idaho's defecit would become two goals less than a minute into the third period. After Idaho killed off nearly 30 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play, Stockton converted on the 5-on-4 man-advantage as Ryan Hayes found himself alone in the slot for a wrist shot over Josh Robinson at the 51-second mark of the third period to extend Stockton's lead to 3-1.
Two of Idaho's veterans teamed up on a power-play goal at 6:48 of the third that brought the crowd of nearly 3,000 fans back to life. Ben Ondrus won an offensive-zone faceoff forward in the right circle. He stepped around Stockton's centerman, picked up the loose puck, and delivered a perfect pass across the top of the crease to Adrian Foster for the tap-in goal that cut Idaho's deficit at 3-2. More savvy, veteran play would allow Idaho to tie it late in the third as Matt Case fed the puck up the left-wing wall to Andrew Carroll. Carroll drove around behind the net, banging a shot off Roy's leg pads. The rebound rolled right to Foster who, at 14:17 of the third, jabbed home the rebound to tie the game at 3, sending the game to overtime. The two goals were Fosters fourth and fifth of the postseason.
The Steelheads nearly won the game early in overtime, but Roy denied Smith at the left post to keep the game going. A little over halfway through the overtime session, Tyler Gron tried to carry the puck out of the defensive zone, but the puck was poked off his stick by a Stockton defenseman. In the ensuing scramble, the Thunder set up in the offensive zone along the right-wing side. The first shot was saved, but the rebound rolled right out into the slot where Andrew Clark awaited and the rookie banged home the rebound behind a helpless Josh Robinson at 11:39 to end the game.
The overtime win was Stockton's fifth of this playoff - tying an ECHL record. Idaho has already been involved in six overtime games, going 4-2 in extra time.
Robinson took the loss for Idaho, stopping 24 of 28 shots. Roy got the win in net for Stockton, stopping 36 of 39. Idaho's power play unit was 1-5 while the penalty-kill unit stuffed five of Stockton's six power-play chances.
The series now shifts to Stockton for Games 3, 4 and 5. Game 3 is Wednesday at 8 PM (Mtn) in northern California. The Steelheads and CenturyLink Arena will once again host a free watch party inside the SportZone on the third floor of CenturyLink Arena. The party is open to fans of all ages with a limited food and drink menu available. Doors open one hour prior to game time.
Games 4 and 5 are Friday and Saturday in Stockton. Game time each night is 8:30 PM (Mtn) and there will also be free watch parties for those games.
COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Adrian Foster
CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:
1) Adrian Foster (ID)
2) Andrew Clark (STK)
3) Ryan Hayes (STK)
Group outings at a Steelheads game are a great way to gather friends, colleagues, or co-workers for a fun night out in downtown Boise. Ticket prices are discounted and you can get a Pepsi, Double-R Ranch Hot Dog, and bag of Tim's Cascade Chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.