Score the first road trip of the season a big success for the Stockton Thunder.
The Thunder put the finishing touch on an impressive four-game trip by beating the Bakersfield Condors 4-3 in front of a crowd of 4,759 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield (CA) on Saturday night (Oct. 27). Stockton was 3-0-1 on the trip to earn seven of a possible eight points after opening the season with a loss on home ice.
“It was really good for us to go out and get points in every game (on the trip) after starting the season by losing at home,” Thunder Coach Matt Thomas said by telephone after his team’s latest victory. “It’s important to be successful on the road early in the season, and we’ve got a group of guys who are working hard and playing well together. Now we just have to duplicate at home what we’ve been doing on the road.”
The Thunder (3-1-1) will return to home ice on Sunday for a rematch with the Condors at Stockton Arena.
Justin Maylan, Teigan Zahn, Eric Hunter and Matt Reber were goal-scorers for the Thunder in Saturday’s game, while Parker Stanfield, Justin Pender and Erik Burgdoerfer scored for Bakersfield.
The Condors (3-4-0) got on the scoreboard first, taking a 1-0 lead when Stanfield put a shot behind Thunder goalie Tyler Bunz slightly more than three minutes into the game. Evan Trupp was credited with an assist on the goal by Stanfield, which was his fourth of the season.
The Thunder answered Stanfield’s goal barely more than two minutes later, when Maylan deflected a shot by Zahn into the Bakersfield net to create a 1-1 tie that lasted through the first intermission. Zahn and Harrison Reed received assists on Maylan’s first professional goal.
Bakersfield regained the lead just 16 seconds into the second period on a power-play goal by Pender, but the Thunder again needed just a shade more than two minutes to respond. This time, Zahn scored off assists from Maylan and Garet Hunt to leave the teams in a 2-2 tie.
Stockton captured the lead not quite three minutes after Zahn’s goal, when Hunter crashed the net and scored off assists from Nathan Deck and Toni Rajala, and the Thunder carried the 3-2 advantage into the second intermission.
After the Thunder survived a brief two-man disadvantage early in the third period, Reber delivered a short-handed goal slightly more than four minutes into the period to give Stockton a 4-2 cushion. Matt Bergland recorded an assist on Reber’s goal, which was his third of the season and Stockton’s first while killing a penalty.
The Condors cut their deficit to 4-3 when Burgdoerfer scored off assists from Trupp and Ryan Annesley just as a tripping penalty against Deck was expiring with slightly more than nine minutes left to play, but the Thunder held on the rest of the way.
Stockton enjoyed a 32-24 advantage in shots for the game, including a 16-7 edge in the second period. Bunz logged 21 saves in earning the victory, and Condors goalie Brian Stewart made 28 saves in defeat.
Thunder defenseman Cam Brodie took an elbow to the head early in the game and did not return, but Thomas said rookie Kevin Noble, who made his Thunder debut, performed well while getting extra ice time in Brodie’s absence. Thomas said he didn’t know whether Brodie would be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game.
The box score from Saturday’s game can be viewed here: