Junior Hockey: Thunder find another local goalie and sign a forward with junior experience

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Goaltending appears to be set for the Twin City Thunder.

Last week, the Thunder announced the signing of former Bangor standout Derek Fournier, and this week they announced Fournier’s partner — and they didn’t have to look too far: Head coach Doug Friedman’s son, Jaxon, has signed on to play for the team.

The younger Friedman, 18 and officially from Mount Vernon, played for his father the past few seasons at Kents Hill and also played for the Maine Moose 18U team out of Hallowell. With the Huskies this season, the 6-foot, 3-inch netmider appeared in 20 games, sporting a 3.29 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.

With the Moose this season, he appeared in 12 Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League 18U games and had a 3.38 GAA and. 867 save percentage. He also appeared in three games at USA Hockey’s Tier II 2A Nationals, where he went 2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and a ,898 save percentage, helping backstop the Moose to their second straight National Championship.

“I have had him since we have been at Kents Hill,” Doug Friedman said. “Obviously I know him well, and what he can bring to the table. I am excited about him being with the Thunder. He’s a kid who has improved a lot over the last four years pretty steadily. He works hard, he’s kind of an unknown in Maine, right? Even though we are at Kents Hill, we just kind of go about our business up there. We don’t play a lot of Maine teams other than the other prep (schools).”

Doug Friedman said the player-coach relationship with his son is good, but joked Jaxon might say otherwise. Doug also added that he’s harder on Jaxon than anyone else and Jaxon is accustomed of his dad pushing him to be the best goalie he can be.

Before joining the Thunder in the fall, he will attend the Central Illinois Flying Aces main camp from May 30-June 3. The Flying Aces play in the United States Hockey League, the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league. The Flying Aces did call him up after the Kents Hill season was over to practice with the team

Doug Friedman believes having two goalies born in 1999 will be beneficial for the Thunder.

“They both have two years left of juniors and they’re two of the best ’99 goalies in the state,” Doug Friedman said. “I think it’s great in terms of a home-grown standpoint with these guys. They do have two years, but both have experienced in different ways what they done. Derek with his time with the (North American Hockey League), and obviously playing out at Fox Motors this year — and he had a great high school career at Bangor.”

This week the team also announced Cole Therrien, who spent 2017-18 with the Cape Cod Islanders of the North American 3 Hockey League, will play in Auburn.

Therrien, a native of Barnstable, Massachusetts, will be in his last year of junior hockey when the puck drops in September. He only appeared in 15 games with the Islanders, who are owned by Dan Hodge, a part-owner of the Thunder. The 6-foot, 3-inch forward made an impact in those games with 12 goals and 11 assists.

In his final two years of high school hockey with Cape Tech/Cape Cod Academy, he had 43 goals and 31 assists.

He missed most of the 2017-18 season because of a concussion. He impressed Thunder management at the tryout camp at the beginning of May after taking his time coming back from his concussion.

“I think his compete level was great, that’s one thing that stood out,” Friedman said. “He has a good skill set, I didn’t think he had the skill set that he showed. Again, this is a kid who was injured a lot last year. So he’s coming off an injury, and so what he showed at camp having being sort of cold and not being able to train was impressive.”

Friedman said the Thunder’s scouting trip to Massachusetts this past weekend at the United States Premier Hockey League’s Spring Showcase and the Pre-Draft Showcase went well. He said the team offered a few contracts to players and hopes to get them signed in the next couple of weeks.

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