Thunder tied for first place in Pacific Division | Community
STOCKTON 1 – LAS VEGAS 0
Thunder tied for first place in Pacific Division, Reichard earns first career shutout
STOCKTON, Calif. – Goaltender Cody Reichard (5-1-1), just one day after putting on his best performance of the season, upped the bar even higher by stopping all 38 shots he faced and posting the first shutout of his professional career Wednesday night. The Stockton Thunder (13-5-3, 29 points) needed all of his stops, as they pulled out a 1-0 victory at home over the Las Vegas Wranglers at Stockton Arena.
“The guys played really well in front of me,” said Reichard. “We limited their chances on the outside. They could have had a lot of shots, a lot of opportunities from the outside, like last night. There were a lot of big blocks from a bunch of different guys stepping up and good back check. As I said last night, the guys are playing really well in front of me.”
Stockton moved into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with the Ontario Reign. Forward Toni Rajala continued his scoring streak, scoring the game-winning goal to make it 13 straight games with a point, an ECHL season-high. Las Vegas’ Joe Fallon stopped 22 of 23 shots.
After a scoreless first period, the Thunder got the scoring started off a great transition.
As the last second of four-on-four play ended, forward Yannick Riendeau, who had been serving the penalty, skated onto the ice and found the puck which had been sent to center ice off a deflection. Riendeau dished the puck off to Rajala at the front of the net, who beat Fallon one-on-one with a backhanded deke to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead just 2:39 into the second period.
“[Reichard] was the difference-maker,” Thunder head coach Matt Thomas said. “We didn’t play very well. We did a lot of good things defensively in a lot of areas, especially around the net. We cleared a lot of second and third opportunities that they could have had. But Reichard was the difference. He deserved to be the first star, and the player of the game in everyone’s minds.”
Las Vegas outshot the Thunder 11-9 in the third period and Reichard’s last save was critical. With the Wranglers pressuring on a six-on-four power play with an extra attacker, Reichard flared his left pad to deny Andrew Sarauer’s bid from the right circle with less than 15 seconds left.
Teigan Zahn cleared the defensive zone to seal the win.
Source: Stockton Thunder