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Cup Quest Has Storm Brewing Over Las Vegas

April 8, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) - Stockton Thunder News Release

KELLY CUP PLAYOFFS, ROUND 1: (all times PT)

vs. LAS VEGAS WRANGLERS (National Conference Quarterfinals - best of 7)

The Thunder embarks on its quest for the Kelly Cup with a best-of-seven series against the Las Vegas Wranglers in the National Conference quarterfinal round. The Thunder finished 2-7-0 in the regular season against Las Vegas, defeating the Wranglers 3-2 in a shootout at Stockton Arena on Dec. 7 and took a 1-0 win in Stockton on Jan. 20. It is the first time the Thunder meets Las Vegas in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Thunder lost in a six-game series last year to Idaho in the first round and Las Vegas dropped a six-game series to Idaho in the National Conference Semifinal and second round last year.

#8 Stockton vs. #1 Las Vegas - (all times PT)

Game 1: at Las Vegas - Friday, April 11 - 7:05 p.m. (Orleans Arena)

Game 2: at Las Vegas - Saturday, April 12 - 7:05 p.m. (Orleans Arena)

Game 3: at Stockton - Sunday, April 13 - 6:00 p.m. (Stockton Arena)

Game 4: at Stockton - Friday, April 18 - 7:30 p.m. (Stockton Arena)

Game 5: at Stockton - Sunday, April 20 - 4:00 p.m. (Stockton Arena) *

Game 6: at Las Vegas - Tuesday, April 22 - 7:05 p.m. (Orleans Arena) *

Game 7: at Las Vegas - Wednesday, April 23 - 7:05 p.m. (Orleans Arena) *

* If necessary

1420 KSTN is the Thunder's flagship radio station and all Thunder games can be heard live on the Internet (free-of-charge) and are available for viewing at a $6 "pay-per-view" charge at www.stocktonthunder.com, courtesy of B2 Networks. Radio broadcaster Mike Benton provides play-by-play commentary, with the "Thunder Forecast" pre-game show starting 15 minutes before each broadcast.

In addition, Valley Brew Family Restaurant is in its second season as official host of the Thunder Watch Party (via B2 Networks' "Bar and Pub Network") for all road games, featuring prizes and broadcast-interactive contests for all fans in attendance.

Located at 157 W. Adams Street in Stockton, Valley Brew Family Restaurant is placed in the heart of Stockton's "Miracle Mile" district and features an array of acclaimed burgers, beverages, appetizers, specialties and more, offering customers free wi-fi internet access inside the restaurant.

KELLY CUP PLAYOFF TICKET INFORMATION

Round-by-round ticket packages for the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs and individual first round playoff tickets are now on sale. Individual tickets can be purchased at the Stockton Arena ticket office, via phone at (209) 373-1700 and online at www.stocktontickets.com. Kelly Cup Playoff tickets start as little as $9 per seat. Current Thunder season ticket holders will receive tickets to the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for free and ticket packages that have not been claimed in-person at Stockton Arena will be issued by mail beginning Monday, April 7.

THUNDER FANS ARE ECHL'S BEST FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

The Thunder finished the regular season 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 is 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).

WEEK IN REVIEW

Tuesday, April 1 (Fresno 4 - Stockton 3) (SO)

Goaltender Tim Boron made 38 saves and Lance Monych scored two goals to help the Thunder gain a point in the standings and settle for a 4-3 shootout loss to the Fresno Falcons before 4,639 at Save-Mart Center on Tuesday night. The Thunder moved to a point ahead of the Phoenix RoadRunners, who dropped a 5-3 loss to Las Vegas tonight, in eighth place in the National Conference and reduced its magic number to three points to clinch a Kelly Cup Playoff berth. David Rohlfs added a power-play goal for the Thunder.

Thursday, April 3 (Utah 5 - Stockton 3)

Ryan Kinasewich bookended a four-goal rally by the Utah Grizzlies in the final 24 minutes of play with a three-point effort (2g-1a), helping send the Thunder to a 5-3 loss before a crowd of 2,778 at The E-Center on Thursday. Brian Lee, Tom Zanoski and Tim Verbeek each scored for the Thunder while goaltender Tim Boron made 42 saves in the losing cause.

Friday, April 4 (Stockton 6 - Utah 5)

Center Brandon Schwartz's goal with 14.8 seconds left in regulation snapped a 5-5 tie and lifted the Thunder to a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Utah Grizzlies before a crowd of 7,163 at The E-Center on Friday night. Led by rookie Jacob Micflikier's three assists to mark his return to the Thunder lineup for the first time since late December, the Thunder jumped back into sole possession of eighth place in the National Conference with one game remaining in the regular season. Tim Verbeek added two goals while Ryan MacMurchy, Brian Lee and Lance Monych also scored for the Thunder.

Saturday, April 5 (Utah 4 - Stockton 3) (OT)

Center Brandon Schwartz's game-tying goal with 1:15 left in regulation forced overtime and officially clinched a Kelly Cup Playoff berth for the Thunder, who ultimately settled for a 4-3 overtime loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Olivier Labelle's game-winning goal before 7,789 at The E-Center on Saturday, in the regular season finale. Lance Monych and Ryan MacMurchy added second period goals for the Thunder while Tim O'Connell led the offense with two assists and goaltender Glenn Fisher made 37 saves.

UPCOMING MILESTONES:

o Tim Verbeek is 4 games away from 400 in his professional career

TEAM NOTES:

o Lance Monych (32g-20a) and Brandon Schwartz (16g-36a) finished tied for the team's scoring lead

o Lance Monych led the Thunder with 32 goals, becoming the first Thunder player to hit the 30-goal plateau

o Rookie goaltender Tim Boron finished tied for third in the ECHL with three shutouts

o Stockton led the ECHL in attendance with 239,337 fans (6,648 average)

o Stockton had five wins when trailing after two periods

o Stockton ranked third in the ECHL with 14 shorthanded goals

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

(courtesy of The Record)

"We're in now, and anything can happen," Schwartz said. "This gives us a chance to do some good things."

- Brandon Schwartz on the Kelly Cup Playoffs, The Record, 4/7/08

"When it was 3-0, we were on the canvas, and I'd say we were at about eight on the 10 count. But we got up," Cichocki said. "The important thing is we're in the playoffs, and Brandon was right there again. I don't know what we'd do without him."

- Head Coach Chris Cichocki on Schwartz's game-tying goal on Saturday, The Record, 4/6/08

"I've been keeping tabs on how things have been going for the boys here, and I'm very happy to be able to come here and help out."

- Left wing and all-star selection Jacob Micflikier, The Record, 4/5/08

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