Thunder make move on division leading Las Vegas

With a 2-1-1 record last week, the Stockton Thunder are closing in on the top spot in the Pacific Division. The Thunder are 27-16-9 for 63 points, and are just four points behind the division and conference leading Las Vegas Wranglers with 20 games remaining in the regular season.


After opening the week with a pair of hard-fought losses, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision at Ontario on Wednesday and a 3-1 loss to Victoria on Friday, the Thunder came out firing on Saturday scoring the first six goals of the game to take a 6-0 lead into the final period and defeating the Salmon Kings 8-1 in front of 7,549 fans at Stockton Arena. Chris Lawrence (3g-1a) and Jordan Fulton (1g-3a) each had four-point nights for the Thunder while Steve Vanoosten chipped in with three points (1g-2a).


Lawrence continued his torrid pace on Sunday scoring two more goals and adding an assist to help lead the Thunder to a 4-0 win over Victoria. Cameron Brodie (1g-1a), Fraser Clair (1g-1a) and Kelly Czuy (0g-2a) all had two points in the win while Zane Kalemba turned aside all 24 shots he faced to earn his first professional shutout. The rookie out of Princeton University saw action in all four games for Stockton last week, going 2-1-1 with a 1.22 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage.


Clair leads the Thunder this season with 42 points (16g-26a) while his 16 goals are tied for the team lead with Lawrence, who paces the club in plus-minus with a +17 rating. Despite not joining the team until early January, Jarrett Konkle is second on the team with a +17 while ranking third with 14 goals and tied for fifth with 24 points.


Stockton’s defense has been solid all season as the Thunder rank second in shots-against per game (27.71) and tied for fifth in goals-against per game (2.87).


The Thunder are second in the ECHL in attendance, averaging 6,316 per game. Stockton led the league in attendance in each of its first four seasons before finishing third last season. The club has averaged over 6,000 fans per game in each of its five seasons in the ECHL.


Stockton has a busy week ahead playing four games in six days. The Thunder host Bakersfield on Tuesday before travelling south to take on the Condors on Friday and Saturday and Ontario on Sunday.