STOCKTON, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings and AHL Manchester Monarchs, was defeated by the Stockton Thunder, 5-4, in overtime before a crowd of 4,913 fans on Friday evening at Stockton Arena. With their win, the Thunder tied the series, 2-2.
The Thunder opened up scoring in the match at the two minute mark in the first period. Stockton right wing David Rohlfs picked up a loose rebound in front of the net and threw it past Ontario netminder Jeff Zatkoff
. Center Judd Blackwater and left wing Igor Gongalsky registered the assists on the play, and the Thunder took an early 1-0 lead.
Stockton’s lead didn’t last long. During a power play at 6:48, Reign center Tim Kraus capitalized on the man advantage and found the back of the net off assists from defenseman Darren McMillan and right wing Geoff Walker. Kraus’ equalizer closed out scoring for the opening period, as the teams headed into the middle frame tied at one.
Tim Kraus notched his second point of the game after a Stockton slashing major found the Reign on a power play at 7:20 in the second period. Right wing Bud Holloway
sent a centering feed over to Tim Kraus, who smashed a one-timer past Stockton goaltender Parker Van Buskirk. Right wing Jon Rheault also picked up an assist on the goal, which gave the Reign a 2-1 lead.
Center Cory Urquhart answered back at 10:27 to tie the game, 2-2. Defenseman Daryl Marcoux fed the puck up to center Craig Valette, who threw the puck to Urquhart. Urquhart tossed the puck over Zatkoff’s blocker and into the back of the net.
Stockton scored their second unanswered goal at 14:29. Defenseman Cleve Kinley slid the puck to the front of the crease from behind the Ontario net, where it was picked up by center Ryan Huddy. Huddy carried the puck to the top of the crease, where he launched it past Zatkoff to give the Thunder a 3-2 lead.
At 6:13 in the third period, right wing James Bates extended Stockton’s lead to two goals. Bates fired off a shot from the slot that sailed over Zatkoff’s glove, with assists from left wing Mike Lalonde and Ryan Huddy.
The Reign was not content to give up the win to the Thunder and scored two shorthanded goals with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. The first goal was unassisted and came from Jon Rheault at 18:08. Rheault threw a wrister past Van Buskirk through a screen in front of the net. With only 23 seconds on the clock and still playing shorthanded, the Reign tied the game, 4-4. With heavy traffic in front of the net, defenseman Colten Teubert threw the puck towards the front of the goal, where it was deflected in by Bud Holloway
. Tim Kraus picked up an assist on the game-tying goal, and his third point of the game. With the scored tied and time expired, the clubs geared up for sudden-death overtime.
With a goal 2:04 into the overtime session, it looked like the Thunder were about to wrap up the win, but it was waved off by the officials, and play started up again. Just 24 seconds later, Stockton scored again, and this time it counted. The home team claimed the win in overtime, with a final score of Thunder 5, Reign 4. Stockton’s victory tied the series at 2-2.
1. STK – J. Bates
2. STK – R. Huddy
3. ONT – T. Kraus
• Bud Holloway
is currently on a 4-game point streak (5g, 5a) (4/10/09-4/17/09)
• Jon Rheault is currently on a 2-game point streak (1g, 3a) (4/15/09-4/17/09)
• The series is tied, 2-2; the clubs will meet for game 5 in Stockton on Sunday, April 19 at 4 p.m