After being shut out by the P.A.L. Islanders 2-0 on Friday and Sunday, the Twin City Thunder’s NCDC team’s line combinations needed a shakeup.

Head coach Dan Hodge was looking for a spark, and he got one as the Twin City Thunder defeated the South Shore Kings 6-2 on Tuesday at the Advent Health Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, Florida, as part of the United States Premier Hockey League’s Hub City event.

The win stopped the Thunder’s three game losing streak, which started on Thursday in a 4-3 loss to Rockets Hockey Club.

Hodge moved captain Nick Rashkovsky off the top line down to the third line, and Valeri Rykov moved to the top line. Rykov had been on the second line with Alex Rivet and Dominic Chasse. Hunter Schmitz slid up to the second line from the third line to fill Rykov’s spot

“I was looking to get some different looks and trying to spark (the offense),” Hodge said. “I moved Val Rykov with (Noah) Furman and (Gabe) Potyk. They play a puck possession game and Val is able to find open areas and slip through (the defense). Schmitz is a very fast player, he plays the game fast and hard. I put him up there with Rivet and Chasse. He did a great job.”

Potyk, who centered the top line with Rykov (two assists), and Furman each had two goals and an assist. Tyler Fox, who centered the third line with Gabe Malek and Rashkovsky, also had a pair of goals in the win, which is the Thunder’s second since arriving in Florida last week.

Moving Rashkovsky down to the third line was to recreate chemistry with Fox, Hodge said.

“Rashkovsky and Fox, they started the season together. There seems to be a real comfort level with those guys,” Hodge said. “Yeah, we were trying spark a few things and it worked well.”

Potyk opened the scoring with a power play goal midway through the first period for the Thunder (6-8-0, 12 points). Rykov and Bowdoin College commit Jack Gilligan assisted on the goal.

The final three minutes of the first period saw a flurry of goals. First, Greg Peterson scored on the power play for the Kings (10-10-1, 21 points) to tie the game at 1-1. Fox then scored his first of the game, with Rashkovsky assisting, and Schmitz scored with six seconds remaining in the period to give the Thunder a 3-1 lead after one.

Chasse and Rivet had assists on Schmitz’s goal.

Both teams scored a goal in the second period. For the Thunder, Zach Connor and Rykov set up Gilligan for his third goal of the season.

South Shore also scored on the power play, as Ryan Bottrill found the back of the net and cut the deficit to 4-2.

Twin City scored two more late in the third period. Fox notched his third goal of the season while the Thunder were shorthanded, and Potyk, who had the assist on Fox’s goal, scored a shorthanded goal on an empty net in the final minute of the game.

Potyk has seven goals on the season, which leads the Thunder.

Goalie Connor Leslie made 25 saves for the Thunder, while South Shore’s Evan Szary stopped 19 shots.

“Hey, they are giving us a chance to win,” Hodge said of Twin City’s netminders. “If they let up two goals and we aren’t scoring goals, we aren’t doing our job. They are giving us the opportunity to win.”

The Thunder return to action Thursday against the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs at 9:40 a.m.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.