Bates Assist Ties Thunder Single Season Scoring Record
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - James Bates tied the Stockton Thunder (33-28-10, 76 points) single-season scoring record with an assist to help Stockton claim a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the host Alaska Aces before 5,263 fans at Sullivan Arena on Friday.
Bates earned his 73rd point of the season with a helper on a Matt Robinson goal, tying Ryan Huddy's mark set one season ago.
The Thunder, who moved to a tie for fourth place in the National Conference with the Las Vegas Wranglers, also were helped by goaltender Andrew Perugini's 32 saves and a first period goal from Matt Robinson. Nick Mazzolini and Curtis Fraser scored for Alaska and Mazzolini closed the game with a shootout goal in the third round.
Just 35 seconds into the game, Curtis Fraser buried a rebound from the left circle to lift the Aces to a 1-0 edge, countered just 22 seconds later when Robinson finished a give-and-go play beneath the left circle to knot the score, giving Bates the record-tying point on an assist.
Pitton's tenth goal of the put the Thunder ahead 2-1 with 5:09 left in the period.
Alaska's Nick Mazzolini buried his 27th goal of the season to level the score, 2-2 with 12:49 left when he outraced the Thunder defense and poked a rolling puck over a diving Andrew Perugini to the back of the net.
After a scoreless third period, the Aces presented the best opportunity to win the game with a 4-on-3 power-play in sudden-death overtime but the Thunder penalty killing and a series of timely saves by Perugini snuffed out the chance.
After back-to-back goals by Jarrett Konkle and Brock McBride, Mazzolini put the game away with the shootout winner in the third round, beating Perugini on a wrist shot over the blocker side.
Billy Sauer earned the win in net with 15 saves.
Alaska clinched the conference's #3 seed with the win.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Brett Hemingway (healthy), Matt O'Dette (injured reserve), Anthony Aiello (healthy), Garet Hunt (injured reserve), Riley Emmerson (injured reserve) and Craig Valette (injured reserve) ... Alaska outshot the Thunder, 35-17 ... the Thunder's shootout loss moved their record to 8-2-2 in the last 12 games at Sullivan Arena, dating back to 2007-08, including a stretch of 5-0-2 in the last seven road games ... Chris D'Alvise was held without a goal and is one behind Huddy's goal-scoring record (35), set one year ago.
The Thunder returns to play tomorrow to conclude the regular season schedule, visiting the Alaska Aces in an 8:15 p.m. faceoff at Sullivan Arena. The game can be heard on radio at 1280 KWSX and viewed online exclusively at www.stocktonthunder.com, courtesy of B2 Networks (audio is free of charge).
The Thunder was voted "Best Local Sports Team" by readers of the San Joaquin Magazine, has led the ECHL in attendance for four consecutive seasons and drew 223,854 fans to Stockton Arena in 2008-09. Season Tickets for 2009-10 are on sale now. For more information about tickets, merchandise, or other inquiries contact the Stockton Thunder offices at (209) 373-1500 or visit http://www.stocktonthunder.com/.
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