Forney's hat trick leads Colorado, Green nets first ECHL goal
LOVELAND, Colo. - Michael Forney collected a hat trick while Devin DiDiomete posted a goal and two assists to lead the Colorado Eagles past the Stockton Thunder (19-12-7, 45 points), 8-3 at Budweiser Events Center on Wednesday.
The Thunder, who fell to 2-2-0 in the season series against the Eagles, surrendered a trio of power play goals in the defeat and was aided offensively by goals from Ryan Green (first career ECHL goal), Justin Maylan and Matt Reber. Special teams factored in the game with the Eagles, holding the top producing power play in the ECHL, converting at 3-of-5 in the game.
Colorado claimed a 2-0 lead after A.J. Hau buried a rebound with 10:46 left in the first period and Forney converted a lead pass by DiDiomete with a wrist shot from between the circles at the 5:43 mark of the second period.
The Thunder crawled back into the game, trailing 2-1 when Green stashed a loose puck for the landmark goal with 9:20 left in the period. Matt Bergland won an end zone faceoff and the puck was sent back to the point, where Shawn Boutin blasted a shot on net that Colorado goaltender Adam Brown had trouble handling.
After Bergland was denied on the second chance bid, Green converted the follow-up at the left post.
Penalty trouble put the Thunder in a 4-1 hole when Colorado racked up back to back goals on a four minute power play.
DiDiomete cleaned up a rebound following Tyler Bunz's stop on Aaron Schneekloth with 5:11 left in the period, and Trent Daavettila set up Colin Bowman's wrister from the mid slot just 1:16 later.
Schneekloth extended the Colorado lead to 5-1 with his third goal of the season at 2:47 of the third period on a wrist shot from the inside of the left circle, followed by Teegan Moore's rebound at 4:16 for a 6-1 advantage.
The Thunder finally silenced the Colorado run with two consecutive five-on-three goals after DiDiomete was nailed for a five minute elbowing penalty and two consecutive penalties by Ray Kaunisto. Maylan parked a rebound at 7:34 of the period and Reber deflected Yannick Riendeau's wrister from the left circle just 1:03 later to slice the deficit to 6-3.
However, the Thunder would get no closer in a bid for a wild comeback and Forney closed out the scoring with goals coming 1:22 apart to put the game out of reach. He finished Steve Haddon's feed at the left post for a power play goal with 1:50 left and completed the hat trick effort with a wrist shot off the rush with 27.7 seconds remaining.
NOTES: The Thunder scratched Jesse Fratkin and Kevin Noble ... Ryan Constant appeared in his first game since Dec. 17 after sitting out due to injury ... Colten Hayes made his Thunder season debut and registered a shot on goal before leaving the game early when he drew the five minute elbowing penalty to DiDiomete ... Garet Hunt and DiDiomete fought before DiDiomete's exit ... the Thunder went 2-of-7 on the power play.
Both teams meet again in a Friday rematch at Budweiser Events Center, starting at 6:05 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. COL - D. DiDiomete
2. COL - M. Forney
3. COL - A. Hau
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