Twin City Thunder co-owner and head coach Dan Hodge got a look at perspective players for the Twin City Thunder for the upcoming season with  two teams competing in the USPHL Summer Showcase this past weekend in Hudson and Hooksett, New Hampshire.

The coach liked what he saw from the teams that competed in the National Collegiate Development Conference division of the showcase. The teams included NCDC drafted and tendered players, free agents and players signed with the organization’s Premier League team.

“Kind of like last year, we are trying to get our eyes on as many players as possible,” Hodge said. “You go to showcase like that, some teams are coming out of their camps and we haven’t had our main camp yet. You go and see what’s there to see who has been doing something and see who has been able to stay in shape the last couple of months without hockey. For the most part, I was happy with everybody and the effort level, the pace of the games were really good.

For Hodge, a couple of players stood out, including one free agent who’s looking to make the jump across the river from the L/A Nordiques

L/A’s Sergei Anisimov watches the puck head toward the net after he redirected a slap shot into the net for a goal during a playoff game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston in 2019. Sun Journal photo by Russ Dilliingham

“We also had (Sergei) Anisimov there for us,” Hodge said. “He’s a real good hockey player and we were excited to see him out there. He’s still a free agent and he’s a guy who we have our eyes on, obviously he has Tier II experience. He’s a big kid, I met him the first time the other day at the rink. What a big kid. I don’t have to look up at a lot of people, but I had to look up to him.”

Anisimov, who stands 6-foot-3 and is 198 pounds, has spent the past two seasons with the L/A Nordiques of the North American 3 Hockey League had 11 goals and 22 assists in 30 games last year. He was drafted by the Maine Nordiques last year in the entry draft. He appeared in two games with the Tier II Nordiques recording no points.

The L/A Nordiques have ceased operations after the end of the 2019-20 season so Anisimov is looking for a home for next season, which will be his final junior hockey season

There were others that are already a part of the organization that also stood out.

“One of our draft picks, David Rankin from the Junior Penguins, really stood out. He scored some goals,” Hodge said. “(Tender) Nate Chickering from Proctor, and one of the players we’ve signed, a defenseman (P.J. Donahue) from Phillips Exeter Academy, he’s a 2000, he’s a really smart defenseman that plays a real smart game, very patient and a good leader on the bench.”

Rankin was fourth on the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins 18U team with 16 goals and 19 assists in 54 games played. The 19-year-old Chickering had seven goals and 11 assists in 25 games with Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire while battling an injury for most of the season. In the 2018-19 he had eight goals and 15 assists in 31 games.

Donahue had four assists in 31 games with Phillips Exeter last season.

Hodge could tell which organizations had a camp leading into the showcase. The Thunder were planning on having their main camp last week but delayed it until August because of the coronavirus.

“You could see the skating, the players on the ice at a competitive level during a camp,” Hodge said. “Their competition level was a little higher because they were trying to prove something and they were trying to make a roster. Some of the teams were making their cuts after the showcase (so) some of the players were trying to make a statement. Again, our guys were trying to prove something as well. It was a good mix of seeing the energy and the excitement back on the ice.”

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