STOCKTON, Calif. – Wrapping up a three-game series with their Northern California rivals, the Stockton Thunder (21-15-4-3, 49 points) were outgunned and outpaced by the San Francisco Bulls (15-20-1-4) in a 5-2 loss in front of 5,838 fans at Stockton Arena.
“I thought San Francisco played really well,” Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said, “They worked real hard and took advantage of our mistakes.”
Center Gabriel Levesque (two points) and forward Matt Bergland each found the back of the net for the Thunder
Playing in his third game in as many days, goaltender Cody Reichard (10-6-4) made 15 saves in just over two periods of action before he was pulled for the first time in his career. Taylor Nelson stopped 24 shots for San Francisco.
The Thunder fell behind on their first penalty kill of the game. Cody Carlson launched a shot in from the point at goal. The puck was tipped into the air and over Reichard by Ryan Galiardi, who recorded the goal which gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead 6:34 into the game.
Ten minutes later, Peter Sivak stole the puck at the blue line and skated in for a one-on-one with Reichard. Sivak was able to beat Reichard with a wrist shot, putting the Thunder in a 2-0 hole 16:42 into the first period.
Persistence paid off in the second period. Bergland sent a shot at goal from the right circle. The ensuing rebound was collected by forward Matt Ambroz, who set off a scrum in front of goal. In the scramble, the puck bounced out just above the crease. Bergland, who had swung around the goal, collected the puck and fired a shot by Nelson, reducing the Thunder deficit to 2-1 8:15 into the middle frame.
San Francisco answered just four minutes later. Sebastien Trudeau carried the puck from the blue line all the way to behind the Thunder goal, where he beat Reichard on a wrap-around shot at the post to make the count 3-1 at the 12:08 mark of the second period.
Later on in the period, Dean Ouellet fired a shot just above the left circle. The shot bounced off Reichard’s pads and right to Carlson at the crease. Carlson finished the rebound to give the Bulls a 4-1 lead 14:12 into the middle frame.
The Bulls added to their lead 4:54 into the third period. Simon Danis-Pepin sent Jordan Morrison a centering pass from the left boards. Morrison sent a wrist shot that beat Reichard stick side to increase the total to 5-1.
“I thought Reichard played really well tonight,” said Thomas, “I didn’t think he was bad today. I don’t think we gave him much help. Maybe the wrap-around goal he would want to take back, but we didn’t have much. I’m disappointed in our top players. Our go-to offensive players didn’t show up.”
At the 6:26 mark, Reichard was pulled for new signee Jody O’Neill, who entered the game for his first action this season and first since March 17. O’Neill made nine saves and stopped a penalty shot by Alex Tuckerman.
“Once you go out there, you just kind of get in the rhythm,” O’Neill said afterwards, “You’ve just got to live in the moment and forget all of the distractions. Equipment, score, it doesn’t matter.”
Hovering just below the blue line, defenseman Mike Little swung the puck to Levesque, who blasted a one-timer by Nelson to make the count 5-2 16:50 into the third period.
****Article courtesy of the Stockton Thunder****
Credit: Ruben Dominguez – Thunder staff writer
Official Link: http://www.stocktonthunder.com/2013/01/20/recap-ready-break/
3 Stars of the Game:
1. SF – T. Nelson
2. SF – C. Carlson
3. STK – G. Levesque
Be sure to follow all of your BoT staff on twitter!!!
Blades of Teal: Tape to tape “WITH THE PASS” of expert analysis on San Jose Sharks, Worcester Sharks, and San Francisco Bulls hockey