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Utah rallies for four goals in final 21 minutes

December 13, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) - Stockton Thunder News Release

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - The Utah Grizzlies rallied for four goals over the final 21 minutes of play, highlighted by Evan Kotsopoulos' shorthanded goal in the third period to edge the Stockton Thunder (8-12-4, 20 points) in a 5-3 win before a crowd of 3,748 at The E-Center.

The loss stretches the Thunder's winless streak to four consecutive games, who fell to 0-2-1 on a season-long eight game road trip and received a goal each by Mike Lalonde, Brandon Scero and Ryan Huddy. Rookie goaltender Andrew Perugini made 34 saves in the losing cause while counterpart Michael Mole stopped 24 shots.

Mike Lalonde opened the scoring with his seventh goal of the season at 11:41 of the first period to lift the Thunder to a 1-0 lead, taking a faceoff win by Jeff Kyrzakos and snapping a shot past Michael Mole between the hash marks.

Ex-Grizzly Brandon Scero followed by burying his first goal in a Thunder uniform and fourth of the season just 3:01 later to stretch the lead to 2-0, taking Toby LaFrance's centering pass in the mid-slot and rifling a snap shot over Mole's glove.

Utah scored their first goal of the game courtesy of Andy Sertich on the power-play at 3:57 of the second period, converting a wrist shot from the left circle after Ryan Kinasewich misfired on centering pass to Vladimir Nikifirov from the right corner.

Ryan Huddy scored his 6th goal in 3 games and his 11th overall at 6:09 to restore the Thunder lead to two goals, taking Lalonde's left wing feed while on the rush and re-directing a backhander through Mole's five-hole from the low slot.

Mike Walsh's sixth goal of the year at 18:41 of the second period cut the Thunder lead to 3-2 when he converted a centering pass through a maze of legs at the doorstep and past Thunder goaltender Andrew Perugini's glove.

Perugini robbed Walsh on a breakaway, just seconds before Walsh tied the game.

Utah knotted the score at 3-3 with James Sixsmith's sixth goal of the season with 8:28 elapsed in the third period, converting an end-zone draw in the offensive zone. Sixsmith took a pass from Walsh and cut to the net at a sharp angle from the left corner, pulling Perugini off the blocker-side post and stuffing a forehand shot into the back of the net.

Kotsopoulos put Utah ahead 4-3 on a shorthanded breakaway with 8:26 remaining, his fourth goal of the season after stealing a pass at the Thunder blueline and converting on a backhanded deke.

Former Thunder forward Tim Verbeek polished the rally with his 10th goal of the season, an empty-netter with 35 seconds remaining in the game.

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