Scoring clutch goals is becoming a habit for Stockton Thunder forward Harrison Reed.
It happened again Saturday night (Feb. 2), when Reed scored two goals and Justin Maylan added another to carry the Thunder to a 3-2 victory over the Idaho Steelheads in front of an appreciative full house of 8,919 at Stockton Arena.
The decision capped a seven-game home stand in which Stockton went 3-3-1. It also came 24 hours after the Thunder absorbed a frustrating loss to the Steelheads, who claimed a last-minute victory on Friday night.
“We needed to come back and win,” Reed said. “It was a must-win for us. You could feel it in the room. The guys really wanted it, and we were able to accomplish it.”
Reed’s two goals gave him a team-leading 21 for the season and eight in his past nine games. He leads the ECHL in power-play goals with 12, and has become a key cog in the Stockton offense.
“Reed has been a real good player for us over the past couple of weeks, and that’s been real important in our success,” Thunder Coach Matt Thomas said. “All goal scorers are confidence players, and he’s playing with confidence right now. It’s nice. You need guys like that.”
The Thunder (24-17-8) had a 12-4 edge in shots in the first period, but couldn’t get anything past Idaho goalie Josh Robinson and the period ended in a scoreless draw.
The Steelheads (28-12-5) grabbed a 1-0 lead barely more than four minutes into the second period, when David de Kastrozza scored his 12th goal of the season off an assist from Sam Carrick. The lead lasted only 17 seconds, however, as Reed responded by scoring on the next shift off assists from Matt Reber and Maxime Boisclair.
Maylan gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead when he scored his 17th goal of the season off assists from Yannick Riendeau and Shawn Boutin about six and a half minutes into the second period, and Reed struck again about a minute and a half later. Garet Hunt and Matt Bergland had assists on Reed’s second goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.
“The last couple of games, I feel like the puck is going in for me,” Reed said. “I’m getting opportunities. I’m working hard . . . and I’m confident in my game right now.”
Idaho’s Tyler Gron netted a power-play goal off assists from Carrick and Ian Watters with not quite seven and a half minutes left in the second period to shave Stockton’s advantage to 3-2 heading into the second break.
The Thunder held on in the third period, during which the Steelheads enjoyed a 15-9 advantage in shots.
“We definitely looked like a team that wasn’t overly used to playing with a lead in the last five minutes, but I think you’ve got to tip your hat to the guys (for) getting the job done,” Thomas said. “They found a way.”
Thunder goalie Cody Reichard stopped all 15 Idaho shots in the third period, giving him 30 saves for the game as he improved his record to 13-7-5.
“He was good when we needed him to be, especially in the third period,” Thomas said of Reichard. “They put a hard push on, and they’re a heck of a team. It was important for him to be good, and he was. He was a difference maker.”
Thomas said the big crowd also made a difference for the Thunder.
“It was a great crowd,” Thomas said. “That crowd really got us into the game. There was good energy. Everyone was loud, and it was consistent. For us, it really allowed our guys to stay in the game, even through the tough times.”
The Thunder will next play on Tuesday (Feb. 5), when the team visits the Bakersfield Condors.
The box score from Saturday night’s game can be viewed here: