Junior hockey: Thunder comeback attempt falls short against New Hampshire

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The Twin City Thunder fell behind Friday and couldn’t quite catch up to the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, who claimed a 4-3 victory Friday night at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn

After a scoreless first period the Monarchs, who lead the New England Division, struck twice quickly in the second. Jordan Hillman put them up 1-0 at the 2:21 mark off an assist by Brendan Johns. Only 19 seconds later, Valentin Kovalenko struck to make it 2-0. Hillman and Frank Anastasio notched the assists.

“It certainly set us back a little bit,” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said. “The reality is we were flat for the first two periods as a whole. We didn’t execute the way we needed to. We definitely started to pick it up in the third period to claw and scratch our way back, but it was just a little too late.”

Zachary Desmarais put the Thunder on the board 3:33 into the third period, his team-leading seventh goal of the season. The assist went to Etienne Crousle.

Cody Colegrove, set up by Nick Kurlay and Johns, restored the two-goal lead for the Monarchs just past the six-minute mark.

Just before the 10-minute mark, Derric Trudeau put the Thunder within one off an assist by Lewiston’s Jeromey Rancourt.

“All of (our) goals were nice plays, nice real heads-up plays that started off with good initial passes and some hard work,” Friedman said. “It was nice for those guys to be able to score and really had a couple real premium chances as well with the goalie pulled. I will give credit to their goalie, he played fantastic and came up with some big saves, timely saves. Again, we had chances, we just didn’t execute for the majority of the game.”

Every time the Thunder inched closer, the Monarchs responded.

Patrick McCoy made it 4-2 with a goal with 6:08 remaining in the game. Zack Olsen was credited with the assist.

Again Twin City pulled within one, this time when Matt Hanlon scored with 28 seconds remaining in the game. Crousle and Rancourt picked up the assists.

The Thunder return to action Saturday at home against the Boston Bandits at 6 p.m.

“The upside to having two games a weekend is we get to get right back at it tomorrow,” Friedman said. “Again, a really strong opponent in the Bandits, as are most of our opponents. We are going to have our hands full tomorrow and hopefully we can learn from today.”

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