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Stockton survives late Idaho charge

Thursday, February 16th
Stockton survives late Idaho charge

(Stockton, CA) - Cody Purves' backhander from the slot fluttered just over the crossbar inside the final 20 seconds of regulation as the Stockton Thunder survived a comeback bid from the Idaho Steelheads, 3-2, Friday night at the Stockton Arena. With the win, Stockton (24-21-5, 53 points) leap-frogged over Idaho (23-23-6, 52 points) into fifth place in the ECHL's Western Conference standings. Utah defeated Las Vegas to move to 49 points, just three points behind the Steelheads as four points separates fifth and seventh place in the Western Conference. Stockton netted two first-period, power-play goals to take a 2-0 lead. First, it was Matt Foy to Ryan Lowery, then it was Ryan Lowery to Matt Foy as the Thunder out-shot Idaho, 19-1 in the opening frame. In the final seconds of the period, Purves brought his team to life with a spirited fight with Stockton enforcer Garet Hunt. The scrap ended with Hunt on his back and the Steelhead bench alive. At 6:36 of the second period, Idaho got on the board when Patrick Kennedy redirected a Cody Purves attempt past Thomas Heemskerk for his sixth of the season. Kennedy's sixth of the season cut Stockton's lead to 2-1. The Thunder would re-establish the two-goal lead with less than thirty seconds to play in the second period on a Ryan Martindale goal, redemption for Martindale who was robbed on a highlight-reel pad save by Idaho's Jerry Kuhn just minutes earlier. Idaho crept closer in the third period on a nice 3-on-2 conversion. Ian Lowe carried the puck into the offensive zone and delivered a pass to Kennedy in the middle of the ice. Kennedy then touched a pass to Aaron Lewicki in the right-hand circle and Lewicki blasted a shot over the blocker of Heemskerk to get Idaho to within a goal, 3-2, at the 11:06 mark. The Steelheads would have chances over the final ten minutes as they put good pressure on the Stockton net, but could not get the equalizer as the Thunder held on once Purves' final shot carried over the top of the Stockton net. Kuhn was strong in net for Idaho, stopping 35 of 38 shots in the loss. Heemskerk made 18 saves on 20 shots for Stockton. The Thunder went 2-5 on the power play while Idaho converted on one of four chances with the man advantage. Idaho will travel overnight via bus for games Saturday and Sunday against the Ontario Reign. Saturday night's game begins at 7 PM (Mtn) with Sunday's game getting underway at 6 PM. Both games can be heard on KTIK (1350 AM) in the Treasure Valley. The Steelheads return home on February 22 to host the Utah Grizzlies in Boise. Tickets are available by calling the CenturyLink Arena box office (208.331.TIXS) or by logging on to www.idahosteelheads.com. COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME - Patrick Kennedy AQUA FINA "3 STARS" - (1) Matt Foy (STK) (2) Thomas Heemskerk (STK) (3) Ryan Lowery (STK) Group outings at a Steelheads game are a great way to gather friends, colleagues, or co-workers for a fun night out in downtown Boise. Ticket prices are discounted and you can get a Pepsi, Double-R Ranch Hot Dog, and bag of Tim?s Cascade Chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.

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