STOCKTON, Calif. – A hat trick from Jeremy Langlois helped solidify game two of the Western Conference Quarter Finals when Stockton downed Ontario 5-3, to put Stockton up 2-0 in a best of seven series as the teams head to Ontario for the next two games.
Riley Wetmore scored the solo goal in the first period, at 7:29. The carryover momentum from the previous night game was evident as both teams completed checks and good solid hits in the neutral zones too.
During the second period, Stockton broke out with three goals in the first ten minutes. Andrew Clark scored at 1:55 into the period, assisted by Langlois and Joey Martin. Langlois scored his first two goals at 5:53 on a power play, followed by another goal at 9:03. One of those goals was originally credited to Ryan Hayes, but was changed later in the game to Langlois. Jussi Olkinuora was in the net for the Reign.
Everett Sheen and Marc Cantin dropped gloves on the next puck drop getting the fans on their feet. Ontario took advantage of a few Stockton missed passes and Jake Newton scored at 11:33. His goal was assisted by Derek Couture and Matt Register. Stockton’s Lee Baldwin drew a holding penalty, and Register capitalized sending the puck past Brian Foster in the net for the power play goal at 12:57.
The tide changed when Jeremy Yablonski took a boarding penalty that led to another Thunder goal and the hat trick for Langlois. However, since that earlier goal had not been changed yet, the 3,304 fans didn’t release the hats to the ice until a few minutes later when it was announced on the loud speaker, during a break in action. The thunder lead 5-2 going into the second intermission.
“After we had scored that fifth goal, it took the steam out of their sails and I think that one goal by them gave them some life and they started to believe a little bit again,” Said Coach Rich Kromm. “They pushed in that second part of the third period. It was a bit of a storm we had to weather. I think the guys eventually calmed down and relaxed. Once we got that power play it eased up some of the pressure.”
Gasper Kopitar scored an early goal for the Reign at 2:47, with assists to Cody Sol and Yablonski. There were still plenty of big hits, one being a check that upended Sheen over the boards into his bench by Ryan Constant.
Stockton’s defense was solid for the remaining period. Despite a penalty that put Nicholas Tremblay in the box late in the period. The Reign pulled Olkinuora for the extra skater with 2:10 remaining, giving the Reign a six on four advantage, but they could not solve Foster in the net. Stockton held on for the 5-3 game win.
Foster took the win with 16 saves and Olkinuora had 27 in the loss for Ontario. Stockton scored in two of four power play opportunities, while the Reign scored in one for three.
In two games, Langlois has racked up seven points in four goals and three assists, leading the playoffs in points ahead of Alaska’s Nick Mazzonlini for the post season.
“Definitely anytime you get a hat trick it’s a cool feeling,” said Langlois. “We played pretty well tonight and my line mates definitely helped me earn that tonight.”
Both teams will head to Ontario for games three and four. Kromm knows it will be tough down there.
“We had some success in their building. We have to play the way we’ve done at home. We have to keep it consistent by getting pucks in deep and getting around their net. It has been very successful for us. The guys are buying into that and when we do, that’s paying off for us.”
“We just have to take it one game at a time, it’s the old adage, but right now it’s really true.” said Head Coach Rich Kromm. “Right now we have come in and have a good game on Tuesday night and keep the momentum moving forward.”