The Twin City Thunder made most of its opportunities against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, turning them into a 6-2 victory in a National Collegiate Development Conference junior hockey game Saturday.

The Thunder did most of their damage on special teams, and defenseman Nicolas Poirier scored a hat trick while Andrew Kurapov had a goal and an assist.

“I think our first four goals were on the power play goals, 5-on-4, 5-on-3s.” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said. “Poirier had the hat trick. We executed, we were opportunistic and got it done.”

The Monarchs jumped out to an 1-0 lead just past the five-minute mark of the first period as Colton Sipperley found the back of the net.

With 5:30 remaining in the opening period, Poirier tied the game for the Thunder on a power play.

Twin City went on a power play early in the second period after New Hampshire’s CJ Duvall was called for tripping, and three seconds into the man advantage Poirier notched his second of the game at the 2:56 mark after the Thunder won the offensive zone faceoff.

“We have spent a lot of time practicing our special teams, they can win you games and they can also lose you games,” Friedman said. “Fortunately, the penalty kill did a great job as well tonight, not allowing any power play goals. The special teams overall have been very strong for us.”

Friedman also said the Thunder’s penalty kill did a good job limiting the chances the Monarchs had on power plays by applying a strong fore-check.

Twin City was 4 for 10 on the power play, while New Hampshire was unsuccessful on all five of its power play opportunities.

The Thunder’s 2-1 lead didn’t last long, as a minute after Poirier’s goal Gabe Malek tied the game for the Monarchs.

The Thunder scored two more times on the power play in the final minute of the second period as Poirier and Kurapov found the back of the net.

The Thunder iced the game away in the final period as Nick Rashkovsky scored midway through the period and Daniels Murnieks capped the scoring with a goal late in the period.

“In the third, we knew we were going to get some calls against us, and for the most part, we got what we expected — we had one undisciplined penalty we took as a team,” Friedman said. “We denied them those quality opportunities on their power play. Five-on-five, in the third period, we just (took) that momentum and kind of rode (the game) out.”

Goalie Alexander Kozic made 25 saves in the victory for the Thunder, while Matt Pasquale stopped 32 shots for the Monarchs.

Before the game, the Thunder called up forwards Igor Shevchenko and Raphael Lajeunesse and defenseman Adam Stepanek from the Premier League team.

Shevchenko started the season with HK Trnava U20 of the Slovakian U20 league where he had a goal and assist in four games. He scored Friday night in his only appearance with the Premier League team.

Lajeunesse had three goals and three assists in seven games for the Premier League team. Stepanek had four goals and 14 assists in 24 games at the Tier III level.


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