STOCKTON, Calif. – Austin Fyten’s overtime goal with 1:41 left helped the Idaho Steelheads send the Stockton Thunder to a 2-1 OT defeat in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals in front of 3,198 fans at Stockton Arena in Wednesday.
Fyten’s goal broke Stockton’s 11-game overtime winning streak in the playoffs and dealt the Thunder its first overtime loss of these playoffs after starting 5-0.
“It’s like the first two games.” Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said, “Both teams played hard and both teams played well. They scored one more goal than we did tonight.”
“Everyone’s laying it out on the line tonight.” Thomas continued, “It was a good hockey game.”
Josh Robinson earned the win for Idaho with 41 stops, while Stockton’s Olivier Roy made 40 saves in net for the Thunder. Forward Eric Hunter scored the Thunder’s lone goal.
After a scoreless first period, which saw each team rack up 10 shots on goal, Andrew Carroll put the Steelheads on the board 11:11 into the second period. Carroll collected a pass from Austin Smith above the circles and beat Roy blocker side for a 1-0 Idaho lead.
Hunter evened things up 2:51 into the final frame. Forward Matt Reber picked up the puck along the right side and skated towards goal. His shot from the right post snuck through Robinson’s leg and right in front of the goal line, where Hunter poked it in to make it 1-1.
Both teams traded opportune scoring chances in overtime. With just over two minutes left in overtime, Reber was penalized for cross-checking. Seconds into the power play, Fyten snuck a shot from the left circle by Roy’s blocker side for the game-winner with 1:41 left in overtime.
“I thought we played hard.” said Thunder captain Garet Hunt. “We didn’t play our best game, obviously. We didn’t get the result we wanted. It’s just the way she goes sometimes.”
“We had our power play and didn’t get the job done.” Thomas said, “They had theirs and they got the job done. It’s that simple.”
The Thunder will look to rebound in Game 4, set for Friday at Stockton Arena at 7:30 p.m.