Alaska dominated the early stages and took a 1-0 lead on Bryan Miller's power-play goal at 7:02 of the first. Brock McBride sent a pass down low to Judd Blackwater who in turn ripped a cross-crease pass to Miller for a backdoor stuff.
The Aces kept up the pressure and were it not for some big saves from Andrew Perugini would have had a bigger lead.
Stockton eventually found its game and turned the tables on the Aces. Ryan Constant evened the score on a power-play strike at 16:03, one-timing a pass from Matt Marquardt past Reid.
The Thunder carried play throughout the last few minute of the period, and a case could be made that were it not for Reid's acrobatics Stockton could have taken the lead.
They did early in the second when Stockton sniper Chris D'Alvise slipped behind rookie defenseman Nils Backstrom for a breakaway goal at 1:42.
Backstrom -- playing in his first professional playoff game after completing his career at UAA -- lost his man and former Ace Matt Robinson found him with a long breakout pass.
Alaska got three chances to even it up on the power play in the second period, but came up empty each time. But early in the third Miller got that equalizer, his second of the game, at 36 seconds.
And that was the beginning of a video-game-like eruption of goals.
Rookie Dion Knelsen picked up his first professional goal at 5:47 to put Alaska back in front 3-2.
Then the pace picked up and end-to-end hockey ruled the period. That is, until Alaska's Anthony Peluso took a whack at a puck in midair in his own zone and sent it over the glass for an automatic delay of game penalty.
Stockton used the ensuing power play to get back even, Jason Pitton banking one in off an Aces defenseman at 11:23. Less than three minutes later Marquardt bagged his second of the game and Alaska killer Kelly Czuy made it 5-3 39 seconds after that.
Thompson called timeout and Blackwater responded 9 seconds later with his first playoff goal.
But 2 minutes and 7 seconds later D'Alvise put it away for Stockton with a 4-on-4 goal. Constant iced it with an empty-netter 66 seconds after that.
Nick Mazzolini, the Aces' leading scorer, sat out his second straight game with a host of injuries sustained in a first-period fight in Game 1. A concussion kept him out of the lineup, but he also broke his nose and a bone near his eye. He will not require surgery.
Mazzolini made the trip to California and could be in the Game 4 lineup.
"Nick's a day-to-day thing," Thompson said in an interview on KFQD-AM before the game. "He felt good the other day. We're keeping our fingers crossed for (Saturday). He has to have 24 hours of not having symptoms of a concussion."
In another lineup move, Lee Green -- who dressed in place of Mazzolini in Game 2 -- was scratched in favor of rookie defenseman Backstrom.
Contact Andrew Hinkelman at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @KTUUSports on Twitter.