AUBURN — Twin City Thunder forward Jeromey Rancourt had the game on his stick on a breakaway in the 3-on-3 overtime session, but for the second time Northern Cyclones goalie Blaine Moore stopped him.

The Cyclones grabbed the puck out of their own end where Niklas Bretschneider found Air Force commit Will Gavin, who streaked into the offensive zone and scored his second goal of the game to give the Cyclones a 4-3 USPHL National Development Conference junior hockey victory over Thunder at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.

“The second time in OT, coach (Doug Friedman) had mentioned not try to go blocker on (Moore) because he’s been pretty good on it tonight,” Rancourt said. “It was late in the shift and I didn’t know if I had a good leg (up) on the guy back checking, so I tried to put (the shot) glove side, and obviously I missed.”

Rancourt’s shot was blocked, but Friedman was impressed by Rancourt’s effort in the game.

“His legs were moving; again, I can’t say enough how far he has come,” Friedman said. “He just continues the development path, getting better and better in all areas of his game. It’s really fun to watch him out there.”

Gavin said fortune was on his side.

“I just got a lucky bounce. I thought it was going to be a breakaway for them (again),” Gavin said. “It popped out on my stick. So, it was a lucky bounce, and I got a nice screen by their defenseman, I just shot it.”

The loss is a heartbreaker because the Thunder were looking to clinch a playoff spot with a win. They finished with 54 points, tied with the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Monarchs hold the tiebreaker between the two teams, so they will move on to the postseason while the Thunder’s first NCDC season comes to an end.

“(Being tied in points with them, they got us in head-to-head matchup,” Friedman said. “We had the win percentage, but that was the second tiebreaker. It’s tough, we had 26 wins this year, we have the same amount of wins with teams that (made it). A couple of the overtime games, whatever it maybe, was the difference.”

The Thunder entered the third period trailing 2-1. Zach Rehbaum stretched the Cyclones lead to 3-1 on a shorthanded goal midway through the frame.

Christian Blomquist and Nicolas Poirier scored for the Thunder late in the third period to force overtime.

It took nearly 30 minutes for the first goal of the game to be scored. Evan Pringle received a pass from Niklas Bretschneider at the Cyclones’ offensive blue line and then beat Thunder goaltender Alexander Kozic top shelf for a 1-0 lead.

The Thunder responded three minutes later when Andrew Kurapov jammed home a loose puck in the crease to tie the game up at one.

Gavin put the Cyclones up 2-1 on a power play with 4:40 remaining in the middle frame as Kozic didn’t see Gavin’s point shot. Niklas Bretschneider recorded his second primary assist of the contest.

NA3HL

GENERALS 7, L/A NORDIQUES 2: Kolye Bankauskas, Carson Asper, Stephen Gerbis and Ryan Reifler each had a goal and an assist for the Generals in a win over the Nordiques in Attleboro, Massachusettes.

Preston Phelps, Tyler Kaminski and Samuel Rychvalsky also scored in the win.

Jackson Vercellono and Michael Keller scored the Nordiques’ goals.


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