The Twin City Thunder’s top line came to play Friday afternoon.

Levente Keresztes scored two goals and Daniel Murnicks added a goal and an assist to lead the Thunder to a 6-3 victory over the Northern Cyclones in Hudson, New Hampshire, in USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference junior hockey.

Andrew Kurapov dished out three assists for Twin City.

Keresztes gave the Thunder (19-13-1, 39 points) a 1-0 lead on the first shift of the game.

“It was a really good start. We were just really grinding it out, making a simple play up to the point and we got traffic to the net,” Thunder coach Doug Friedman said. “Guys are starting to listen to the coaching staff about getting around the net. The team did a good job getting pucks through (to the net).”

The game remained 1-0 until late in the first period when Roman Ledenev found the back of the net for the Northern Cyclones (18-8-5, 41 points).

Gunnar Stadem put the Cyclones up 2-1 a little past the four-minute mark of the second period.

Nick Rashkovsky tied the game for the Thunder on a power play shortly after Stadam’s goal.

“We had some decent looks, they pressure on their penalty kill a lot,” Friedman said. “We told the guys before that and we had quite a few looks with their pressure. We couldn’t find the back of the net (to that point), so this was a big goal by Nick and that power play unit.”

Both teams were 1-for-8 on the man advantage.

The final four minutes of the middle frame saw three goals scored by the two teams.

First, Evan Pringle gave the Cyclones a 3-2 lead with 3:35 remaining.

The lead didn’t last long, though. Zachary Desmarais tied the game up at the 3-3 for the Thunder with 1:34 remaining, and Keresztes picked up his second goal of the game 32 seconds later to give Twin City a 4-3 lead heading into the second intermission.

“Two big goals there. Zach Desmarais had a great rebound (off a shot from Lukas Svarek), he had a real solid game today,” Friedman said. “The (second) goal, it was a pretty passing play from Murnicks and Kurapov with Levente. It was a real big boost to the guys once they saw that play and the got the goal on it.”

Daniels Murnicks stretched the Thunder’s lead to 5-3 midway through the third period.

Mathieu Lapierre added an empty net goal late in the game to cap the scoring for the Thunder.

Goalie Alexander Kozic made 45 saves for the Thunder, while Matt Sayles stopped 29 shots for the Cyclones.

Before Friday’s game the Thunder announced that they acquired defenseman Nick Latvala from the Rochester Junior Monarchs in exchange for forward Finn Walker.

Latvala had three goals and five assists in 20 games for the Monarchs. Prior to the Monarchs, he played nine games for the Islanders Hockey Club, recording no points. He started the season with the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL, appearing in one game.

“He’s a rangy defenseman, he plays with an edge and he has a really good shot,” Friedman said. “He can provide a little offense for us, but he can still provide what we are looking for with steady, solid defensive play as well. It was nice to see him today in the first game, he did a good job, he’s tough to play against,”

Latavala had five shot blocks in Friday’s win over the Cyclones.

Walker suited up in seven games for the Thunder and scored one goal. He started the season with the Brockville Braves of the Central Canadian Hockey League, appearing in seven games.

The Thunder return to the Norway Savings Bank Arena Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m.) to face the P.A.L. Islanders.


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