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Game Preview: Stockton Thunder At Alaska Aces

April 3, 2010 - ECHL (ECHL) - Stockton Thunder News Release

PLAYOFF NOTES:

ECHL NATIONAL CONFERENCE PLAYOFF STANDINGS

(Top-7 in the conference qualify for Kelly Cup playoffs)

- If the Kelly Cup Playoffs began today, the Thunder would face the Las Vegas Wranglers in the National Conference Quarterfinal.

- The Thunder can clinch home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs if:

The Thunder wins AND Las Vegas loses

OR

The Thunder loses in overtime/shootout AND Las Vegas loses in regulation AND Utah loses

- The Thunder has 1 regular season game remaining:

Alaska (1)

- The top seven teams in the National Conference will qualify for the 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs and will be seeded by conference ranking in the first and second round of the playoffs. The #1 seed will receive a bye through the first round and the #2 seed will play #7, the #3 seed will play #6, and the #4 seed will play #5. Home ice advantage will be determined by points." TIE-BREAKER: The tiebreaker for the National Conference if two teams tie will be: 1. Wins, regular season; 2. Points, head-to-head; 3. Wins, head-to-head; 4. Goal differential, head-to-head; 5. Winning percentage, division (if tied teams are from same division; if not, skip to 6); 6. Winning percentage, conference; 7. Goals for, regular season; 8. Goals against, regular season; 9. Coin toss

The tiebreaker for the National Conference if three teams are tied will be: 1. Wins, regular season; 2. Winning percentage, games between the teams; 3. Goal differential, games between the teams; 4. Winning percentage, division; 5. Winning percentage, conference; 6. Goals for, regular season; 7. Goals against, regular season; 8. Coin toss. When two teams remain after the third or other teams are eliminated during any step above, the tiebreaker reverts to Step 1 of the two-team format.

- The Thunder has surpassed the 30-win plateau for the third time in club history (2006-07 and 2008-09) and last year's point total (71). - Last season, the Thunder clinched its third straight Kelly Cup Playoff berth with the 4th seed in the Pacific Division and a 32-33-7 record (71 points)

- The Thunder clinched its fourth straight Kelly Cup Playoff berth on Tuesday, defeating Bakersfield, 6-4 at Rabobank Arena.

TONIGHT'S MATCHUP

The Thunder squares off against the Alaska Aces to end the regular season schedule tonight at Sullivan Arena. This season, the Thunder is 4-0-4 against Alaska and four games between the teams have headed into overtime or a shootout. The Thunder all-time time record is 18-13-9 against the Aces while going unbeaten in regulation for the last 15 games (11-0-4) against Alaska, dating back to 2007-08. The last time both teams met, the Aces defeated the Thunder, 3-2 in a shootout at Sullivan Arena last night. After going 0-5-1 at Sullivan Arena in the first two seasons, the Thunder is 8-2-2 in the last three seasons in Anchorage and swept three games from the host Aces in December (second team in ECHL history to accomplish the feat).

LAST 3 THUNDER GAMES

AK 3 - STK 2 (4/2/10): James Bates tied the Thunder 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 first period goals from Robinson and Jason Pitton. Nick Mazzolini and Curtis Fraser scored for Alaska and Mazzolini closed the game with a shootout goal in the third round.

BAK 5 - STK 4 (3/31/10): A five-goal attack by the Bakersfield Condors in the first two periods was enough to stave off a furious three-goal rally by the Thunder in final period, ultimately a 5-4 Thunder loss before a crowd of 6,871 at Stockton Arena on Wednesday night. The Thunder, who finished the regular season home schedule at 17-12-7, were led offensively by Chris D'Alvise's pair of goals, needing one to tie Ryan Huddy's single-season record (35) set last season. James Bates also chipped in with three assists and Bryan Young and Oren Eizenman also scored for the Thunder.

STK 6 - BAK 4 (3/30/10): Kelly Czuy scored a pair of goals while James Bates (1g-2a) and Matt Robinson (1g-2a) each had three-point efforts to help steer the Thunder to a first place tie in the Pacific Division with the Bakersfield Condors in a 6-4 win over the host Condors, before 4,491 fans at Rabobank Arena. The Thunder, who clinched their fourth consecutive Kelly Cup Playoff berth with separate tie-breakers over Las Vegas and Ontario, received goal-scoring support from James Bates, J.F. Caudron, Jason Pitton and Matt Robinson, who won for the third time in four games. Andrew Perugini picked up the win in net, making 21 stops.

ALL-STAR IS SHINING

Rookie center Chris D'Alvise, who was runner-up for ECHL Player of the Week (Mar. 23),

needs one goal to tie the Thunder single-season record of 35 goals (Ryan Huddy, 2008-09). He had an assist representing the Thunder at the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game in Ontario on Jan. 20. In February, he erupted with 13 points (6g-7a) in 10 games. D'Alvise leads the Thunder with 34 goals (2nd, ECHL rookies) and leads Thunder rookies with 67 points (4th, ECHL rookies) in 68 games this season. D'Alvise has two hat tricks this season and posted a career-high four assists on Mar. 6 vs. Victoria (7-3 win).

THUNDER CROWDS ROLL IN

The Thunder completed the regular season third in the ECHL in attendance with an average of 6,031 fans per game, marking the fifth straight season that an average of 6,000 fans have crossed the Stockton Arena turnstiles. On Jan. 30, the Thunder drew 9,158 fans to Stockton Arena against Victoria, the second largest home crowd this year. The Thunder led the ECHL in attendance last year with an average of 6,218 fans through 36 home games. Stockton has 14 sellouts in the team's franchise history and drew a standing room only crowd of 9,392 on Nov. 8 vs. Alaska. Last year, the Thunder became the first team since 2004-05 to lead the ECHL in attendance for four straight seasons (Florida led the ECHL in attendance for five straight seasons - 2000-05).

BATES AND SWITCHSince returning from an AHL call-up with the Springfield Falcons, James Bates has embarked on a tear spanning over two months with 52 points (18g-33a) in 37 games and has a +19 rating. Bates currently leads the Thunder and ranks eighth in league scoring with 73 points (26g-46a), 46 assists and has set a new career-high with 27 goals. Bates needs one goal or one assist to break Ryan Huddy's single season record of 73 points.

ECHL LEADERS - SCORING (since Jan. 15)

Player Team GP PTS G A +/-

1. Tyler Donati Elmira Jackals 35 67 25 42 16

2. Mark Derlago Idaho Steelheads 34 63 30 33 25

3. Adam Miller Las Vegas Wranglers 35 54 23 31 6

4. James Bates Stockton Thunder 37 52 19 33 19

5. Ryan Kinasewich Utah Grizzlies 28 48 22 26 0

20 AND OVER ADMITTED

A growing club this season that just set a franchise high, five different players with 20 goals in one season adorn the roster, surpassing a club record when four separate 20-goal scorers dotted the roster in 2005-06 (Joel Irwin, Mike Lalonde, Ned Havern and Aaron Foster). Chris D'Alvise leads the Thunder with 34 goals (2nd, ECHL rookies), Colin Hemingway has 24 goals (one off his career-high) to rank fourth and Matt Robinson has 31 goals (new career-high) to rank second. James Bates' 27 goals are also a career-high. D'Alvise and Robinson are the first pair of 30-goal scorers in Thunder history.

THUNDER 20 GOAL CLUB

YR PLAYERS GOALS

05-06 4. Mike Lalonde 29

Joel Irwin 25

Ned Havern 23

Aaron Foster 20

06-07 2. Mike Lalonde 23

Troy Bodie 21

07-08 2. Lance Monych 32

Ryan MacMurchy 23

08-09 2. Ryan Huddy 35*

Cory Urquhart 28

09-10 5. Chris D'Alvise 34

Matt Robinson 31

James Bates 27

Colin Hemingway 24 Oren Eizenman 21

* Denotes Thunder record

'GINI IN A BOTTLE

Goaltender Andrew Perugini, who is ninth in the ECHL in goals-against-average (2.94), became the Thunder career shutout leader (4) on Feb. 12. He posted his most recent blanking on a week later at Bakersfield, a career-high 45-save effort in a 2-0 Thunder win. Perugini was named Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week in February for the second time in his career.

ALL-TIME THUNDER SHUTOUT LEADERBOARD

GOALTENDER SHUTOUTS

1. Andrew Perugini (2008-present) 5

2. Tim Boron (2007-08) 3

3. Devan Dubnyk (2006-07) 2

Glenn Fisher (2007-08) 2

Jake Moreland (2005-06) 2

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