Justin Maylan added to his remarkable rookie resume and was one of seven players to enjoy a multiple-point game as the Stockton Thunder salvaged a winning road trip by beating the Bakersfield Condors on Friday night (Dec. 28).
The Thunder completed a sweep of a quick two-game set in Bakersfield by cruising to a 6-3 victory over the Condors before a crowd of 3,805 at Rabobank Arena. Maylan and Eric Hunter each had two goals for the Thunder, and teammates Teigan Zahn and Yannick Riendeau each had a goal and an assist. Mike Little contributed three assists for Stockton and Toni Rajala and Matt Bergland each chipped in a pair of assists.
“We played really well,” Thunder Coach Matt Thomas said by telephone after the game. “It was a good team game. Guys stepped up, and it was an important game for us to win on the road.”
The victory allowed Stockton (17-9-6) to complete a six-game stretch of road games with a 3-2-1 record. The Thunder, a 4-2 winner at Bakersfield on Thursday, will return to home ice on Saturday night for a game against the Las Vegas Wranglers at Stockton Arena.
The outcome also pulled the Thunder to within two points of the first-place Ontario Reign in the ECHL’s Pacific Division. Conversely, the Condors (7-22-3) have lost eight consecutive games and sit at the bottom of the league standings.
Stockton held a 12-8 advantage in shots in the first period, which ended with the Thunder holding a 1-0 lead. Maylan, whose 29 points rank him second in scoring among all ECHL rookies, accounted for the period’s only goal when he scored off assists from Zahn and Garet Hunt not quite six minutes after the opening faceoff.
The Thunder continued to carry the play in the second period, outshooting the Condors 16-8 on the way to growing the lead to 5-2 by the second intermission.
Hunter and Maylan got the fireworks started early in the second period by netting power-play goals while the Thunder enjoyed a five-minute man advantage because of a major penalty against Bakersfield’s Tyson Gimblett, who was ejected from the game for a hit to the head of Stockton’s Jesse Fratkin. Little and Rajala were credited with assists on Hunter’s goal, which came almost four minutes into the period, and Little and Riendeau had assists on Maylan’s power-play strike slightly more than a minute later.
Bakersfield’s Daniel Koger scored a short-handed goal before Gimblett’s penalty time expired to trim Stockton’s lead to 3-1 about seven and a half minutes into the second period, but Zahn scored off assists from Little and Bergland at 11:35 to give the Thunder a 4-1 cushion. The Condors shaved their deficit to 4-2 when Levi Nelson scored barely more than a minute after Zahn’s goal, but Stockton responded just 1:04 later, when Riendeau scored off an assist from Rajala.
Hunter pushed Stockton’s lead to 6-2 by netting his second goal of the game off assists from Bergland and Cameron Abney just 54 seconds into the third period, and Bakersfield got a power-play goal from Olivier Dame-Malka in the closing seconds to account for the final score.
Thunder goalie Tyler Bunz was victorious for the second consecutive night, making 21 saves in improving his record to 10-7-3. Bakersfield goalie Scott Greenham was credited with 31 saves in defeat.
The box score from Friday’s game can be viewed here: