Twin City Thunder’s Jeromey Rancourt shoots at the goal past P.A.L. Islanders’ Devin Moran Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Special teams played a key role for the Twin City Thunder on Sunday evening in a 5-2 victory over the P.A.L. Islanders in a National Collegiate Development Conference game at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

The Thunder (21-13-1, 43 points) were 2-for-5 on the power play and almost scored a third goal on the man-advantage.

What head coach Doug Friedman really wanted to talk about after the game was the team’s penalty kill, as the Islanders went 0-for-7 on the man-advantage.

“That second period, the opportunities (the Islanders) had, we definitely took too many penalties, but our penalty kill has been getting it done for us,” Friedman said. “To me that was the key to the game, to survive that second period.”

On the scoresheet, the Thunder showed its depth as five different goal-scorers found the back of the net. James “Fisher” Shea, Zachary Desmarais and Christian Blomquist each had a goal and an assist.

“We are a well-rounded team,” Shea said. “(We had) five different (goal-scorers) today and it was the same way yesterday. As you can tell, we roll all of our lines, we just don’t play a single line, we play all four lines.”

After the scoreless first period, the Thunder broke the ice early in the second period. One second after Zach Frisk’s penalty ended for the Islanders, Zachary Desmarais ripped a shot past Islanders goalie Anthony Aureliano (26 saves) to give Twin City a 1-0 lead at the 2:11 mark, with Jeromey Rancourt and Levente Keresztes picking up the assists.

The Islanders tied the game just past the 5:30 mark when Atem Buzoverya dished the puck into the slot to a streaking Greg Barnych, who put the puck past Thunder goalie Alexander Kozic (30 saves).

The second period was penalty-filled, as Thunder call-up Dominic Chasse was called for an elbow and nineteen seconds later Nick Latvala picked up a five-minute major for spearing and a game-misconduct. The 5-on-3 didn’t last long for the Islanders, as Ryan Willett was called for holding seven seconds in. With 2:30 remaining in the five-minute major, Rancourt was called for elbowing. The Thunder were able to kill off the 5-on-3 and the major.

Getting out of that fray unscathed re-energized the bench.

“Our unit, the guys on the penalty kill, we did an incredible job,” Desmarais said. “A five-minute major, to kill that off, our guys were going crazy on the bench, (we were) blocking shots everywhere and it gets everyone going.”

Nick Serio went off for the Islanders with 1:28 remaining in the second period and Daniels Murnieks ripped a shot in the slot to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead with three seconds remaining in the middle frame.

“It’s always nice going into the third period with a one-goal lead,” Friedman said. “Obviously, it’s not a safe lead, but it’s nice to definitely have a little bit of a cushion, but we approach the third period like its 0-0.”

The Thunder stretched the lead to 4-1 with two goals in the middle of the third period. Matthieu Lapierre gave the Thunder a two-goal lead while Shea, who’s a Tufts commit, finished off a play that was started by Blomquist.

After going six games without a goal, Shea has picked up a goal in each of his last two games.

“It felt good to get a couple of goals this week,” Shea said. “I was on dry streak; I think it was six or seven games. So I was excited to bury a couple this weekend and hope to keep going.”

Zach Frisk notched his first goal with the Islanders (19-11-5, 43 points) to cut the deficit in half with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

Blomquist capped the scoring as he scored an empty-net goal from the red line in the final minute of the game.

Chasse, who helped lead St. Dom’s to the Class A state championship last season, was called up for Sunday’s game as the Thunder wanted to give a couple players some rest. Zach Egber took a hit to the head in Saturday’s game and Martin Moioffer has a sore shoulder.

Chasse, a Utica College commit, has spent the season with the Thunder’s 18U midget team — the Twin City Lightning — where he has 21 goals and 13 assists in 20 games. His 34 points place him second in points in the USPHL 18U league.

The Thunder travel to take on the Northern Cyclones on Friday at 4 p.m. before hosting the Boston Junior Bruins on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Twin City Thunder’s Mathieu Lapierre fires the puck.  Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Twin City Thunder’s Carl Froblom races to the puck in front of P.A.L. Islanders’ Devin Moran during Sunday evening’s game in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Twin City Thunder’s Nick Rashkovski tracks down the puck.  Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Twin City Thunder’s Jeromey Rancourt explodes away from P.A.L. Islanders’ Aiden Torres.  Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Twin City Thunder’s Jeromey Rancourt explodes away from P.A.L. Islanders’ Aiden Torres.  Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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