Nick Rashkovsky attempts a shot on goal during a scrimmage at the Twin City Thunder’s main camp at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Thursday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN — Nick Rashkovsky, Jon Kondub and Martin Moioffer are hoping to again help the Twin City Thunder’s USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference team.

The three forwards were on the inaugural NCDC team that went 26-22-2 with 54 points last season and just missed out on a playoff spot. The Thunder lost a tiebreaker to the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs for the eighth and final playoff berth due to the Monarchs winning the head-to-head matchup during the season. (The playoffs ended up being canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.)

Kondub, Moioffer and Rashkovsky are the only full-time members of last season’s team at Twin City’s main camp this week at Norway Savings Bank Arena. The trio still has a bitter taste from the way 2019-20 ended.

“The worst is losing in OT at home (in the season finale), it obviously stings a lot,” Rashkovsky said. “It’s good we will have another year to learn from everything in the first year, the pace of the league, what it takes to be successful. I want to bring that success to myself and the team.”

Rashkovsky ranked fifth on the team in team scoring a year ago with 20 goals and 16 assists in 49 games.

With everything going on in the world this summer, Kondub, who was acquired from the Islanders Hockey Club early in 2019-20, said the Thunder’s main camp doesn’t seem too far removed from the end of the season.

“It doesn’t feel like we left too long ago,” Kondub said. “The four or five months between our exit meetings to now feels like yesterday, with the coronavirus and everything.”

Martin Moioffer skates onto the ice during a scrimmage at the Twin City Thunder’s main camp at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Thursday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Kondub was sixth on the Thunder in scoring with 11 goals and 24 assists in 44 games.

Moioffer said that while 2019-20 was a good year for an expansion team, Twin City didn’t reach its ultimate objective.

“Our goal was to win the championship, and we didn’t get done what we needed to get done,” Moioffer said. “It’s the same goal as this year, as a second-year team, to do our best and make it to a championship and hopefully win one.”

Kondub believes the team needs more consistency and to do better against the NCDC’s top teams. The Thunder did beat the Jersey Hitmen twice, but dropped all of its matchups with the second-place Boston Junior Bruins, the only team they didn’t defeat. Kondub also said the Northern Cyclones also gave Twin City fits last season.

It’s just not the three returning players who feel that the Thunder have something to prove in the organization’s second season at the Tier II level.

“We all do as an organization, from the top down,” Twin City co-owner and head coach Dan Hodge said. “Everybody wants to improve every day, that’s why you play hockey, that’s why you play sports, so you can prove things and have the best game every night, play as hard as you can.”

Hodge has taken the coaching reigns this season after the departure of Doug Friedman, who was the head coach for the Twin City Thunder organization’s first two years, first with the USPHL Premier League team in 2018-19 and then the NCDC squad last season.

Being the only full-time returners at this week’s main camp doesn’t necessarily mean Kondub, Moioffer and Rashkovsky are guaranteed spots on the 2020-21 roster.

“They have come earn a spot, no one is giving them a spot on the team, they have to come in and play hard like everybody else,” Hodge said. “We want to have the best 23 guys when the season starts.”

The three forwards have remained in contact with the coaching staff throughout the offseason.

“Since probably the season ended and we had the exit meetings, Dan and I have had constant and clear communication,” Rashkovsky said. “He has been honest about what he thinks I can play and where I fit in the team for (the upcoming) year, where I can contribute. If I go all out for him, he’s going to go all out for me and help me get to the college I want to be at.”

Rashkovsky, Moioffer and Kondub are 2000-birth-year players who are entering their final season of junior hockey eligibility. Rashkovsky hopes to earn a spot on a NCAA Division I school for next season.

Kondub believes that if he makes the team he will have more responsibilities this season due to the turnover of players.

“I feel like I am going to step into a bigger role off the ice to help others grow into this league and junior hockey, considering I already have a taste of that,” Kondub said. “It’s not too hard to get acquainted, but it’s better if you have someone to help them through it.”

Nick Rashkovsky takes the puck down the icei during a scrimmage at the Twin City Thunder’s main camp at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on Thursday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Hodge likes the mentality Moioffer brought into this week’s camp.

“He actually indicated early on he wanted to come back and try to earn a spot on the team,” Hodge said. “I appreciated that, his statement was, ‘I want to come and earn a spot on your team.’ We talked early on about it. Again, he’s someone who will have a big role on this team.”

Moioffer didn’t have the offensive success as Kondub and Rashkovsky, recording four goals and five assists in 43 games. With 100-plus kids attending the Thunder’s camp, he said maximum effort is required to secure his place on the team.

“It’s not given to anybody, no matter who you are, if you are a returner or someone they never heard of,” Moioffer said. “You got to come here and compete and let your play do the talking. If you don’t come up and play hard, you aren’t going to make the team.”

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