Rich Kromm had his team work on its special teams skills for an extra 30 minutes on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday night’s game.
It could not have worked better for the Stockton Thunder who is right back in the ECHL Western Conference semifinals.
Stockton went 2 for 4 on the power play and James Henry had a crucial shorthanded score as it beat Bakersfield 6-2 and cut into the Condors’ lead in the best-of-seven series. Bakersfield is still up 2-1, but Stockton flexed its muscles and roughed up star goalie Laurent Brossoit a little bit.
It doesn’t mean it will happen again, but on Wednesday the hard work paid off.
The importance of Henry’s goal can not be overstated. The game was knotted at 1-1 late in the second period, with goalie Brian Foster keeping the Thunder right in it. A turnover gabve Henry an opportunity to challenge Brossoit, and he went top shelve with a hard shot into the net.
From there, the Thunder took over. But there could be some bad news out of a good night for Stockton.
Team captain Garet Hunt left the game in the third period with what appeared to be an injury to his torso. He didn’t return, and coach Rich Kromm declined to speculate on his condition aafter the game, saying Hunt was being examined.
Injuries have been a problem during this playoff run, with forward Jeremy Langlois and defensemen Andrey Pedan, Sean Escobedo and Lee Baldwin already missing time.