By Scott Linesburgh
The Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. – If the Thunder wants to find a way to rebound after a poor playoff showing at home, it can take some hints from its opponent.
The Ontario Reign was unhappy with how it played while losing the second game of the series and came out strong to win Game 3. Stockton will be trying to pull off a similar reversal today. The Thunder will look to even the best-of-seven with the Reign at 7:30 p.m. at Stockton Arena. Ontario won 5-1 in Stockton on Wednesday to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Stockton players admit they didn’t come through with a playoff-caliber performance in the loss, and Thunder defenseman Mark Adamek said the Thunder should be “embarrassed and (ticked) off.”
Reign coach Karl Taylor knows how Adamek feels. After taking the first game, the Reign fell behind 5-1 the next night before staging a late rally in the contest before losing 6-5. Taylor believes he knows what is going to happen today.
“I suspect that (Stockton) will come out and play its best game of the season,” Taylor said. “That’s a proud group, and you know they aren’t happy – just like we weren’t satisfied with how we played (in Game 2). We were determined to do better, so we know what to expect.”
Thunder coach Matt Thomas said his team has to find a balance between learning a lesson from Wednesday’s result and moving on.
“We know what we have to do better, but that game is over and we have to concentrate on the next one,” Thomas said. “I don’t have to tell them what they need to do. We know we have to come out strong. This is the playoffs.”
Thomas announced that goaltender Bryan Pitton will start his third consecutive game in the series. Andrew Perugini remains on the injured reserve list with a leg injury, and Parker Van Buskirk will be on the bench to back up Pitton.