ONTARIO, Calif. - Jon Rheault's two goals were enough for the Ontario Reign to stave off elimination and a third period comeback by the Stockton Thunder, forcing Game 7 in a 4-3 Thunder loss in Game 6 of the Pacific Division Semifinals of the 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs, before a crowd of 2,983 at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Tuesday.
The Thunder aims to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in club history in the first-ever Game 7 for both teams on Wednesday, which will be the 15th
in league history. The Thunder rallied for three goals in the third period after falling into a 4-0 hole and were led offensively by Cleve Kinley's
three points (1g-2a). James Bates
and Garet Hunt
also scored for the Thunder. Ontario also received goals from Tim Kraus and Brad Mehalko. STOCKTON VS. ONTARIO - PACIFIC DIVISION SEMIFINALS
Game 1: Stockton 3 at Ontario 4
Game 2: Stockton 6
at Ontario 5
Game 3: Ontario 5
at Stockton 1
Game 4: Ontario 4 at Stockton 5 (OT)
Game 5: Ontario 2 at Stockton 4
Game 6: Stockton 3 at Ontario 4
Game 7: Stockton at Ontario - Wednesday, April 22 - 8:00 p.m. MDT
Kraus opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the playoffs with 8:25 into the game to put Ontario up 1-0, converting a one-touch passing sequence at the right post on a feed by Bud Holloway.
Rheault put Ontario up by two goals with his third of the playoffs with 5:18 left, whacking at a loose puck underneath goaltender Parker Van Buskirk
which barely slid over the goal line. Rheault then hiked the Ontario lead to 3-0 with his second of the game when he muscled his way around the defense from the left corner and netted a second chance wrist shot which deflected off Van Buskirk's glove.
Mehalko's first of the playoffs stretched the lead to 4-0 with 2:40 left in the second period when he put a rebound past Van Buskirk while in traffic, after Mike Howe set up the scoring chance by stealing a clearing pass in the Thunder zone.
Hunt sparked the wild rally in the third and 1cut the deficit to 4-1 with 6:10 gone in the third period when he took a loose puck behind the net and slipped a forehand wraparound attempt past Zatkoff's outstretched glove.
Kinley then re-directed Judd Blackwater's
drive from the point through Zatkoff's five-hole with 8:42 left for his third goal of the playoffs, cutting the deficit in half.
With the Thunder pouring a continuous puck-possession attack on the Reign, the comeback gained more momentum when Bates scored from the rush on a snap shot at the right circle with 3:43 remaining for his fourth goal of the postseason, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
Ontario escaped a series of Thunder threats to tie the score late in the game, including a pair of Zatkoff saves on Cory Urquhart's
one-timer and Kinley's follow-up wrist shot with less than a minute left on a 6-on-5 situation.
Zatkoff earned his third win of the postseason with 29 saves while Van Buskirk stopped 23 shots, including a third period penalty shot on Andrew Martens with 2:45 into the period.
The Thunder scratched Tyler Kindle
(healthy), Mike Lalonde
(injured reserve), Matt O'Dette
(injured reserve), Andrew Perugini
(injured reserve) and Brandon Naurato
(healthy) ... the Thunder outshot Ontario 33-27, including a 26-15 margin in the last two periods ... the Thunder have kept Ontario blanked at an 0-for-8 mark on the power-play in the last two games ... among those in attendance at the game were Los Angeles Kings president/general manager Dean Lombardi, assistant general manager Ron Hextall and head coach Terry Murray. Three Stars
1. ONT - 12 Jon Rheault
2. ONT - 55 Andrew Martens
3. STK - 20 Cleve Kinley
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