The Twin City Thunder’s National Collegiate Development Conference team is excited to be back at Norway Savings Bank Arena after recently completed a 10-game stretch of consecutive road games.

The Thunder have a two-game series at home this weekend, taking on the Utica Jr. Comets on Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday night (7 p.m.).

The last home game the Thunder played was Oct. 18, when they suffered a 3-1 loss to the Boston Junior Bruins.

The way the United States Premier Hockey League builds its schedule, with multiple showcases, creates a delicate balance for the Thunder in their first year in the NCDC.

“It’s tough, we play 50 games (12 of them showcase games), and with the amount of road games we have with the showcases,” Thunder head coach Doug Friedman said. “Obviously, the showcases, it’s a great avenue for guys to get exposure in front of the college coaches, junior coaches and NHL scouts. We really don’t want to pass that up, but at the same token, it’s nice to be at home. I think the social media, the press we are getting is a great way for the local people to get the idea of what’s going on with the team.”

The Thunder are coming off a 3-0 showing at the Islanders Hockey Club’s showcase. They haven’t strung two weekend sweeps in a row all season.

“For us as a team, it’s about continuing our habits,” Friedman said. “The guys are starting to figure out why they are having success, and it’s not just going out and playing. They are starting to realize the details we are preaching to them and coaching to them — the systems we are playing, the compete level that’s required. It’s good to really see that, albeit (19) games into the season.”

The Thunder comes into the weekend with a 11-7-1 record for 23 points. The Comets, meanwhile, are 9-10-3 with 22 points. They entered the Islanders HC showcase on a five-game winning streak before losing two of three.

Thunder forward Christian Blomquist was named the NCDC Forward of the Week after scoring three goals and dishing four assists last weekend.

NORDIQUES HAVE GROWN

The Maine Nordiques head back to Middleton, New Jersey, to take on the New Jersey Titans for a two-game NAHL set Friday and Saturday.

It is the second trip to New Jersey for the Nordiques, and coach Nolan Howe has said the team has grown since Oct. 18-19 when the Nordiques lost 6-1 and 5-2.

“The addition of Timmy Kent helps us,” Howe said. “On top of that, just more experience within the league. All of our guys are first-year players in the league, just getting back to a destination for a second time … so we are a little bit familiar with the arena, with the travel, pre- and postgame meals.

“Just the experience. The first time around we didn’t get the results we wanted, but we learned some lessons.”

Kent has three assists in four games since joining the Nordiques from the University of New England.

The Nordiques are 4-4 since the first trip to face the East Division-leading Titans (16-2-1).

New Jersey ranks first in the NAHL with 4.89 goals per game.

“They are an offensively dynamic team,” Howe said. “They certainly present their challenges to us, but at the end of the day, we think we play a game that can counter them pretty well.

“The first time we faced them, we did some good things, the second time we got away from it a little bit. We are excited to try to shut them down, a good offense will help us with that while playing well in our end.”

NORDS, THUNDER ROSTER MOVES

the Maine Nordiques and the Twin City Thunder both made roster moves in the past week.

On Tuesday, the Thunder announced two call-ups from one of its USPHL Premier League affiliates, the Metro Jets: 19-year-old forward Anthony Cinato and 17-year-old defenseman Joshua Germain.

Cinato is second in the Premier League in scoring with 15 goals and 27 assists in 21 games, after tallying 23 goals for 46 points in 42 games last year. He has NCDC experience, as well, having played in three games last year with the Boston Jr. Bruins and scoring one goal.

Germain, in his first season of junior hockey, has two goals and 16 assists in 19 games with the Jets, who are in first place in the Great Lakes Division.

“We are hoping to get the guys in the games this weekend, and they are getting use to the pace of play here, it’s a little different from Metro in the Premier level,” Friedman said. “They are adjusting quickly, and they have a real positive attitude.”

Friedman said the team left it up to Metro coach Justin Quenneville to decide the two players the Thunder should call up.

The Nordiques, meanwhile, made a few call-ups from the Maine Nordiques Development Program 18U team last weekend.

Forward Caden Pattison was called up Friday, then got in a fight in Friday’s game and scored in Saturday’s. Forward Gabe Dombrowski was called up Saturday but did not appear in that evening’s game.

Goalie Brody Haynes was also called up as regular backup Avery Sturtz was serving the first game of his two-game suspension Saturday for high-sticking major Friday night against the Johnstown Tomahawks.

Marco Duronio will be the backup on Friday night. The team will also have forward Filip Lofdahl back. He hasn’t played since Nov. 9.

Ethan Prout will be suspended for Friday’s game for his high-sticking major Saturday night.

The Nordiques also released forwards Samuel Harris and Vincent DeSanctis, who were signed by the Odessa Jackalopes of the NAHL’s South Division on Saturday. Harris had three goals in 15 games with the Nordiques. DeSanctis had a goal and an assist in 13 games.

“Changes get made throughout the season,” Howe said. “At the end of the day, we are striving for the same goal, which is being our very best.”

POISSANT EXCITED ABOUT MAINE

Johnstown Tomahawks forward Tristan Poissant, who had two goals Saturday night in a 6-3 victory over the Maine Nordiques on Saturday, officially committed to the University of Maine men’s hockey team on Monday by signing his mational letter of intent.

The 19-year-old of Les Coteaux, Quebec, verbally committed to the Black Bears last year while playing with the Cronwall Colts of the Central Canadian Hockey League.

Poissant said liked the overall atmosphere during his recruiting visit to UMaine.

“I was just going on a visit, to be honest. When I saw the place, I saw the coaches, I saw the whole organization, it blew me away,” Poissant said Saturday night. “Everybody is awesome over there. … After my first visit, my father, my brother was there (on the visit), and there was no way I was refusing that.”

His Tomahawks teammates told him Nordiques goalie Connor Androlewciz was also a UMaine recruit. Poissant got acquainted with his future teammate in the second period during a stoppage when the officials were sorting out a few penalties.

“I talked to him a little,” Poissant said. “I think it was (during the second period) where I talked to him, but no I haven’t heard of him (prior to this season) … it was nice talking to him though.”


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