It didn’t take long for defenseman Brandon Davidson and goaltender Olivier Roy to make an impact on the Stockton Thunder.
In their first game since being assigned to Stockton from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League earlier in the week, Davidson and Roy were the key figures as the Thunder earned a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over the Ontario Reign before a crowd of 5,145 at Stockton Arena on Friday night (Feb. 15).
Davidson scored both of Stockton’s goals, and Roy recorded 29 saves to allow the Thunder to win despite being outshot 30-20 and facing a 1-0 deficit after two periods.
Davidson’s goals were the first two of his professional career. He started the season with Oklahoma City, but learned he had testicular cancer in November. He has undergone successful surgery and chemotherapy, and the game Friday was just his third since coming back (he appeared in two recent games with Oklahoma City).
“I felt pretty slow to start out with,” said Davidson, who was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the sixth round of the 2010 National Hockey League entry draft. “I wasn’t very happy with myself. I went in the locker room at the end of the second period and told myself I had to be better and I had to make a difference.”
Davidson became a difference-maker when he scored off assists from Matt Reber and Gabriel Levesque with not quite five and a half minutes left in regulation time to create a 1-1 tie. He scored again on a power play with just 1:57 remaining in overtime to get the Thunder the victory. Maxime Boisclair and Eric Hunter had assists on Davidson’s game-winning goal.
“What can you say about (Davidson)?” Thunder Coach Matt Thomas asked. “I’m just proud of a guy like that. What a story. To come in and do what he did was great. It was great to see. What an accomplishment for him. It was nice to be a part of it.”
Roy, who spent most of last season in Stockton, kept the Thunder (25-20-9) in the game during the first two periods, during which Ontario enjoyed a 25-9 advantage in shots. Brodie Sheahan accounted for the only goal against Roy by scoring at 11:07 of the second period to allow the Reign (35-11-5) to carry a 1-0 lead into the second intermission. Roy faced only one shot in the third period before seeing four in overtime.
“Olivier needed to be very good from the opening shift,” Thomas said. “In the first few minutes, he was great. He kept us in it.”
Roy’s performance set the stage for Davidson’s heroics, which snapped a four-game winless streak for the Thunder.
“I was just happy to finally get the two points for the boys,” Davidson said. “I know they had been on a bit of skid, so I was just happy to bring the room back up. It was good.”
Ontario goalie Dustin Carlson was the hard-luck loser and made 18 saves in defeat.
The Thunder will battle the San Francisco Bulls on Saturday night at Stockton Arena and those two teams will meet again on Sunday at the Cow Palace in Daly City.
The box score from Friday’s game can be viewed here: