STOCKTON, Calif. – Stockton celebrated a Thunderous victory during their eighth annual Thunder Goes Pink weekend, defeating the Utah Grizzlies 3-2 and 6-1 respectively, at the Stockton Arena. Decked out in their pink trimmed jerseys, playing on pink ice, many players with pink laces and even some pink sticks, the Thunder promoted Breast Cancer Awareness.
On Friday night, the Thunder clinched a come from behind win over the Grizzlies, outshooting them 28-22 on the night, all three goals scored by their hot power play special teams.
Stockton’s Mike Dalhuisen opened the Thunder scoring in the first period on a power play goal at 10:09, with a rifle right up the middle that whizzed by goalie Ben Meisner.
“I had a nice pass from Trivino, and there must have been a screen in the front of the net, because it just found its way through,” said Dalhuisen about the goal.
Corey Trivino and Landon Oslanski were credited with the assists on the goal.
Utah’s David Vallorani scored only seconds later on a breakaway at 10:33, followed by another goal at 11:56 by Berkley Scott.
The second period remained scoreless for both teams. But Stockton determined during the second intermission that it was time to bring this game home.
“We just need to get the puck on the net. We were getting too cute in the second, passing and stuff. We need to get the puck to the net, then crash it and our hard work will pay off,” added Dalhuisen.
The third period began with about a minute remaining on a late roughing minor from the previous period, and Andrew Clark took a shot only 27 seconds into the period that found the back of the net. Clarks first goal of the season was assisted by Ryan Hayes and Nathan Deck. At 7:07, Hayes hit another power play shot, and the go ahead goal.
Despite pulling Meisner with just over a minute remaining, the Grizzlies could not find a way to even the score. Parker Milner had 20 saves for the win in the net, while Meisner’s 25 saves gave him the loss.
Stockton is leading the league on the power play after four games, scoring 37.5 percent of the time after 16 opportunities. The Grizzlies were zero for five chances for the night.
On Saturday night, for the continuation of the pink weekend, the Thunder scored two per period and stopped the Grizzlies cold with only one goal for the night. Brian Foster had 26 saves for the night for the win before 6,815 fans.
Shawn Boutin scored his second goal of the season at 4:53, unassisted. At 12:30, Kirill Kabanov scored his third of the season, also unassisted. Grizzlies Tyler Hinds scored a power play goal at 15:32, which would be the only goal of the night.
Nathan Deck scored his first goal of the season at 5:38 of the second period and Ryan Hayes scored his fourth of the season, with an assist that went to Garet Hunt. The goal ultimately chased goalie Aaron Dell from the net, in favor of Meisner for the duration of the game.
James Henry scored his first professional goal only 32 seconds into the third period. Joey Martin and Kabanov were credited with the assists on the goal. The final goal, went up and over Meisner at 14:06 for the Thunder 6-1 win.
“It was a fluky play. I was just throwing the puck at the net. You never know what’s going to happen. You hope for good things to happen. It’s good to start the third period with a lead. Just hopping to extend it,” said Henry about his goal.
The Thunder outshot Utah 25-12 during the first two periods. Utah picked up the pace, driving more shots on the net, only to be turned away by Foster, doubling the Thunder’s shots on goal 15-7 for the period.
Thunder’s coach Rich Kromm was pleased with their play for the weekend, “From the beginning to the end. It was a well-rounded game for us.”
Foster was a primary key in this game said Kromm. “He was really good. Anything that went to the net, he either covered up or steered in the right place. There was nothing left in front of him. It was solid by him all night long.”
Nine Thunder players earned points for the game. Kromm feels good about the depth of the team so far.
“All four lines have balance. They can all score. They all keep chipping in offensively.”
The Thunder Goes Pink weekend is in its eighth season. Many of the players and staff have special people in their past and present lives they remember during this event. One of the newest additions to the team this year is Mike Dalhuisen, who is here on an AHL contract. Dalhuisen’s pink stick, marked in his mother’s memory with her initials helped him to score a goal and an assist in these two games.
Dalhuisen is honored to have the opportunity to play in this type of an event, knowing his mother lost her battle with cancer several years ago. His personal family story is truly an inspiration in the way he works so hard on and off the ice.
The thunder leaves for a road trip to Colorado for Wednesday and Friday, while the Grizzlies head back home for some much needed rest before they host the Reign on Friday.