For 40 minutes the Twin City Thunder hung with the No. 1 team in the USPHL’s National Collegiate Development Conference.

In the third period, though, the Jersey Hitmen’s depth, featuring nine NCAA Division I recruits on the roster, showed.  The Hitmen scored three times in the final 20 minutes for a 4-1 victory at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.

University of Vermont recruit Mickey Burns had two of the three goals in the third period.

“We did a good job for most of the first two periods, and the third period, they turned it on,” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said. “We knew they were going to do that, we just didn’t answer the bell.”

The Thunder got the start they wanted as Christian Bloomquist found the back of the net two and half minutes into the game.

“He scored a nice, hard-working goal off a turnover,” Friedman said. “It was nice to get on the board. They had some pressure before that, that we withstood and came down and got the goal. It was a good little boost for the guys on the bench, too.”

Twin City appeared set to take a 1-0 lead into the locker room after the first period, but the Hitmen tied the score in the final minute of the stanza on a goal by Quinnipiac recruit Connor Tait scored. The goal came after a turnover in the defensive zone, which was a theme for the evening for the Thunder.

In the third period, it was all Jersey.

Alex Mozian gave the Hitmen a 2-1 lead early in the stanza. Burns, scored two straight goals to extend the lead to 4-1.

Gavin Abric made 23 saves in the victory for the Hitmen, while Alexander Kozic stopped 39 shhots for the Thunder in the loss.

Prior to the game, the Thunder called up goaltender Brendan Gasaway from their Premier League team after he was named the Premier League’s Northern Goalie of the Week. With the Premier League team he has a 5-6 record with a 3.57 goals against average and a .911 save percentage.

The Thunder are without goalie Artur Ogandzhanyan, who made the Ukrainian Under-20 national team for the International Ice Hockey Federations Division IB U-20 World Junior Championships that began in Ukraine on Thursday. Ogandzhanyan made 19 saves in a 4-1 loss to Hungary. Thunder forward Levente Keresztes made the Hungarian team but did not factor in the scoring.

Thunder efenseman Gonzales Hagerman is in Spain with the Mexican U20 team preparing for the IIHF Division III U20 World Junior Championships, which will be held in January. He will be back next week and then head to Bulgaria for the tournament in January.

The Thunder are also without forward Daniels Murnieks, who is with the Lativian U18 National Team for a Four Nations tournament in Europe.

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