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Holloway Hat Trick Not Enough

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings and AHL Manchester Monarchs, was defeated by the Stockton Thunder, 6-5, Saturday evening before a crowd of 4,063 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

The second match of the series was Stockton’s night to put the first point on the board. Left wing Mike Lalonde sent a wrister towards the net that bounced off Reign goaltender Jeff Zatkoff’s blocker and into the net at 13:23 in the first period. Lalonde’s unassisted goal gave the Thunder their first lead of the series.

Thirty seconds later, the Thunder extended their lead to two goals. Defenseman Cleve Kinley launched a slap shot at the net from just inside the blue line. The puck hit the inside of the left post and bounced over the line. Right wing James Bates registered an assist on the play.

Thunder left wing Brandon Naurato made it a 3-0 game with his goal at 17:22. Left wing Igor Gongalsky took a shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle that was deflected past Zatkoff by Naurato.

Ontario answered back and put their first point of the night up on the board at 19:13. Defenseman Chad Starling fired off a shot that was saved by Thunder netminder Bryan Pitton. The puck bounced off his pads and out to right wing Bud Holloway, who smashed the puck home behind Pitton, who dived, but couldn’t make the save. The teams headed into the second period with the Reign looking to catch the Thunder, who led the home team with a score of 3-1.

Stockton found the back of the net for the fourth time in the match only 28 seconds into the middle frame. Center Judd Blackwater attempted to stuff a wraparound past Zatkoff, but his bid bounced off the netminder’s pads and out to center Craig Valette, who threw a shot into an open corner.

The Thunder claimed their fifth point of the game as the second period was winding down. Mike Lalonde sent a feed across the zone to center Ryan Huddy. Huddy lifted a wrister over Zatkoff and into the back of the net. James Bates also notched an assist on the goal, which gave the Thunder a 5-1 lead as the clubs geared up for the final period of play.

The Reign dominated in the third period, picking up three goals and putting the first Reign hat trick at home in the record book. The first Reign goal came from right wing Mike Howe. Howe tossed a backhand towards the goal that bounced past Pitton and into the back of the net. Defenseman P.J. Atherton picked up the assist on the goal. Ontario’s second goal was scored at 13:27, and marked Bud Holloway’s second goal of the game. Holloway received a feed from right wing Geoff Walker from the right wing side, and snapped the puck into the top shelf. Just over two minutes later, Holloway notched his third point of the game and the club’s first hat trick at home. Holloway received a pass from right wing Brad Mehalko, who was behind the net. Holloway lifted a shot over Pitton and the hats rained down to the ice. Center Tim Kraus registered the secondary assist on the play, which made it a one-goal game with just over four minutes remaining in the third period.

The Reign pulled Jeff Zatkoff for the extra attacker, hoping to find the equalizer. The Thunder capitalized instead, when Craig Valette received a pass from Igor Gongalsky and found the empty net, giving Stockton a 6-4 lead.

Tim Kraus brought the Reign within one of the Thunder with 25 seconds left to play in regulation. The Reign had the man advantage with Zatkoff on the bench, and right wing Denny Johnston got a slap shot through traffic that trickled into the five-hole. The puck slid backwards towards the goal line, and Kraus was there to push it over the line to cut Stockton’s lead to one goal. P.J. Atherton also claimed a point on the play. Ontario was unable to score as time ran out. Stockton claimed the win with a final score of Thunder 6, Reign 5, and tied the series at 1-1.

To view the box score, click here.

Three stars:
1. ONT – B. Holloway
2. STK – M. Lalonde
3. ONT – M. Howe

Bud Holloway is currently on a 2-game point streak (3g, 1a) (4/10/09-4/11/09)
• P.J. Atherton is currently on a 2-game point streak (1g, 3a) (4/10/09-4/11/09)
• Geoff Walker is currently on a 2-game assist streak (2g) (4/10/09-4/11/09)
• The series is tied, 1-1, and the clubs will meet for game 3 in Stockton on Wednesday, April 15
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