The Stockton Thunder rallied back to defeat the Ontario Reign Wednesday night at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, 4-2.
Ontario scored first late in the opening period on a breakaway when Michael Pelech hit Alex Bourret with a beautiful pass just before he crossed the blue line. Bourret skated in one-on-one with Stockton goalie Bryan Pitton and fired the puck just inside the left post to take the 1-0 lead.
Early in the second period, the Thunder’s Kelly Czuy scored when he banged home a loose puck in the slot to tie the game. The Thunder kept the pressure on and eventually took the lead minutes later when Craig Valette hammered the puck five-hole past Reign netminder Mike Zacharias to take a 2-1 lead.
With momentum on their side, Stockton scored their third goal of the game midway through the middle frame when Pierre-Andre Bureau slid a cross-ice pass over to Jarret Konkle and Kronkle rifled the one-timer high above Zacharias’ glove hand for a 3-1 lead.
Ontario’s James McEwan looked to stop the Thunders momentum when he and Stockton’s Garet Hunt dropped the gloves late in the period. Minutes after that, Ontario’s Chaz Johnson and Chris Lawrence squared off in another bout.
With 3:06 left in the third period, Pelech brought the Reign back to within one when he popped in a rebound past Pitton, trimming the Thunder lead to one, 3-2. But the Thunder answered right back just 22 seconds later when Czuy scored his second of evening, taking back the two-goal lead, 4-2, and silencing the 6,764 fans at the Bank.
The Reign pulled their netminder in the final minutes of the game to give their team the 6-on-5 advantage but Pitton and the Thunder held on to defeat the Reign, 4-2, for their sixth time this season. The Thunder currently leads the series 6-1-1.
Pitton made 35 saves for his 16th win of the year, while his counterpart, Zacharias, stopped 31 in a losing effort.
Ontario will be back on the ice Friday night for a three-game series against the Elmira Jackals at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Stockton will head to Alaska for a three-game series with the Aces starting Friday at Sullivan Arena.