The Twin City Thunder took the ice for the first time when they participated in the USPHL Summer Showcase over the weekend at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Massachusetts.
They started the weekend in the Premier/Elite Division with a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Hockey Club. The offense continued on Saturday with a 8-1 victory over the Connecticut Jr. Rangers and a 9-1 victory over the Syracuse Stars Red team.
After going 3-0 in pool play, the Thunder reached the playoffs, where they dropped a 2-0 decision in the semifinals against the Syracuse Stars White team on Sunday.
Twin City head coach Doug Friedman liked what he saw, but he realizes teams are still trying to figure their rosters for the upcoming season.
“I don’t think we will be winning all our games 8-1 or 8-2,” Friedman said. “If we do, great, but I don’t foresee that being the situation. Every team is different in the showcase. Some guys had a mix like we did with some younger guys and some older guys. Sometimes (teams) have just younger guys, some team have older guys, it’s all different. It’s just a summer showcase, and it’s really an opportunity for teams to look at some players and players to earn spots this year or get a look for next year.”
The roster that the Thunder had this weekend isn’t necessarily the roster they will have this season.
Friedman was impressed with the guys the Thunder have already signed for the upcoming season.
“Cole (Therrien), Jeromey (Rancourt) and Derric (Trudeau) led us offensively, statistically,” Friedman said. “They were some of the stronger players on the ice. Bailey Riddle was great and made some great defensive plays. It was good to see those guys and it was also good to see their leadership qualities with some of the younger guys we had, too. There were a lot of different positives coming out of the weekend for me as a coach.”
The younger players on the team, such as Nate Newgard who was with Maine Moose Under-16 team this past season, were given a taste of playing against junior hockey competition, and a chance to see if they can potentially play at the level this upcoming season as a call up, if needed, from the Moose midget teams.
The showcase also gave Friedman an opportunity to scout other players in other organizations, as the showcase had tournaments at the National Collegiate Development Conference, Under-18 and Under-16 levels.
“You got to be aware of certain players, are they USPHL draft picks already, there are different rules that played in different organizations or certain programs as well,” Friedman said. “You have to be aware who you talk to, but it’s definitely one of the benefits of the showcase is to get eyes on your opponents and other teams playing there, too. It’s certainly a wealth of talent there to look at, and we had some good conversations with some families. Again, some of (the conversations are) for this year, some of it is for the following year.”
One of the unsigned players who played for the Thunder officially signed with the team Monday: Derric Trudeau, who split time last season with the New York Avaitors of the USPHL’s Premier division and the Total Athletics Seahawks of the Eastern Hockey League.
With the Aviators, he had five goals and five assists in 22 games. He added three assists in 13 games with the Seahawks.
Two years ago, the 19-year old played with the Northeast Generals of the NA3HL and tallied 23 goals and 22 assists in 45 games played. He also served as the captain of the Generals.
The Thunder offered Trudeau a contract before the showcase, and Friedman believes being around the organization for the weekend convinced Trudeau to sign with the team for his final junior season.
“We knew about Derric before, and I think if anything it was a bit of indication hopefully of the coaching staff and the character players that we have that allowed Derric to finalize his decision to sign with us,” Friedman said.