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Stockton tops Idaho in shootout

Thursday, March 17th
Stockton tops Idaho in shootout

(Stockton, CA) - For the seventh time in nine meetings this season, the Idaho Steelheads and Stockton Thunder needed a shootout to settle things. And, in that shootout, the two teams needed seven rounds before Fraser Clair won it as the Thunder defeated the Steelheads, 3-2, in front of 5,484 fans in Stockton Arena. Tyson Sexsmith and Dusty Carlson were both outstanding all night, carrying it into the shootout where each turned aside the first six shooters before Clair struck. Sexsmith made it a perfect seven-for-seven by stopping Michael Neal, lifting Stockton (32-22-10) to the victory. Idaho (29-22-13) got a second-period goal from Kael Mouillierat to take a 1-0 lead. Late in the period, however, Stockton tied it on a Ryan Constant blast from the blue line off a face-off win by PA Bureau. Stockton took the lead early in the third when Jim McKenzie somehow managed to get the puck past Carlson, making it 2-1. That score held until the final minute of regultion. With Carlson on the bench for an extra attacker, the Steelheads pressured the Stockton net. The puck bounced around just outside the crease, but Sexsmith could never get a hold of it. Finally, it squirted into the far circle, where Mark Derlago snapped it home with 54 seconds left to force ovetime. Neither team scored in the overtime and Clair was the only one to find the back of the net in the shootout. Carlson, the 24-year-old rookie out of Ohio State, was splendid in his professional debut. He turned aside 29 of 31 Thunder shots before the shootout and then stopped six of seven in the shootout. His counterpart in the Thunder net, Sexsmith, was every bit as good, though, as he also turned aside 29 of 31 before the shootout, but then stopped all seven in the shootout. Stockton is now 4-3 against Idaho this season in shootouts. Each team has one regulation victory over the other. Stockton now has 74 points, three points ahead of Idaho in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. Neither team converted on the power play, with Idaho going 0-3 with the man advantage and Stockton going 0-2. Idaho has two more in Stockton against the Thunder, playing Saturday, and Sunday. Both games will be carried live on KTIK (1350 AM), Saturday's at 8:30 PM and Sunday's at 5 PM Mountain time. The Steelheads return home on Wednesday, March 23, to begin "Pink in the Rink" Week against the Ontario Reign. The Steelheads will wear specially-themed pink jerseys that will be auctioned off to raise money to fund the battle against breast cancer. The two teams play Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Tickets are available at www.idahosteelheads.com or by calling 208.331.TIXS. COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Evan Barlow AQUAFINA THREE STARS 1) Frasier Clair (STK) 2) Tyson Sexsmith (STK) 3) Jim McKenzie (STK)

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