The logo of the Twin City Thunder on their locker room at Auburn Savings Bank Arena. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The Twin City Thunder were able to build a first period lead over the National Collegiate Development Conference North Division-leading Junior Bruins (19-4-3, 41 points), but with 10 Division I commits, several to Hockey East schools, the Junior Bruins roared back for a 7-4 victory Saturday evening at Advent Health Center Ice Rink in Wesley Chapel Florida.

Union commit Colin Graff notched a hat trick and his linemate Frankie Ireland had a goal and two assists.

There was some positives for Twin City coach Dan Hodge as his team put 36 shots on goal.

“(We) had a two-to-one shot advantage, that’s a positive,” Hodge said. “I thought we played hard, we played a full 60 minutes. We had great opportunities. We had great looks, great chances. I think we need to learn to play with a lead and learn to close teams out.”

Hodge mentioned he heard from college coaches after the game on how well and hard the team competed watching the game on HockeyTV.

The Thunder (6-10-1, 13 points; seventh in North Division) struck twice in the final two minutes of the first period for a 2-0 lead as Alex Rivet set up Gabe Potyk on the power play for Potyk’s ninth goal of the season. It was Rivet’s 10th assist of the year. Defenseman Joey Potter jammed home the puck with 15 seconds remaining in the period with Nick Rashkovsky a Williams College recruit and Gabe Malek notching the assists.

The Junior Bruins responded in the first minute of the second period as Boston College commit Jack Dempsey scored a power play goal.

Both teams were 1-for-3 on the man advantage.

Auburn native and Utica College commit Dominic Chasse responded for the Thunder two minutes into the second period with Rivet notching the assist.

“They scored a power play goal that bounced off one of our player’s skates and hit the post then came back and hit the backside of Connor Leslie’s foot,” Hodge said. ‘It was a fluky goal in a way and sometimes that’s what they need and then Chasse scored to make 3-1. They are a talented hockey team. They were patient and they were able to capitalize at the end of the second, but I thought we carried the play pretty well.”

Graf put the Junior Bruins within one at the 7:30 mark of the second period as he split the Thunder defenseman and beat Thunder goalie Connor Leslie (11 saves). Frankie Ireland fed Graf with the pass in the neutral zone.

The pair connected again to tie the game as Graf notched his second goal of the period with a little over five minutes remaining in the second period.

Cameron Lund, a 16-year-old Northeastern recruit, put the Jr. Bruins up 4-3 with three minutes remaining in the second period.

The Jr. Bruins tacked onto the lead in the final five minutes of the game as Jude Brower, Ireland and Graf all scored.

Rashkovsky notched the Thunder fourth goal with under two minutes remaining to play.

Ryan Wilson made 32 saves for the Jr. Bruins.

USPHL ANNOUNCES ALL-STAR GAMES

The United States announced Friday night four all-star games that will take place in Wesley Chapel on Sunday and Monday. There will be a game for NCDC NHL Draft prospects for players born 2002-04 on Monday. Thunder defenseman and Colorado College commit Owen Paskowski (eight games no points) will take part in that all-star game as he’s eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft. Also taking part is Jr. Bruins defenseman Mack Oliphant (two assists in 19 games) who was a Maine Nordiques draft pick this past summer. He’s eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.

The Thunder have no players in the NCDC NCAA prospects all-star game for 2000-01 born players but former Thunder goalie Artur Oganzhanyan, who plays for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, will play in Monday’s game.

The Thunder’s Premier League team has forward Jack Saavedra (12 goals, six assists in 16 games) and goalie Owen Przybylo ( 7-4-1, 3.31 GAA and .902 save-percentage) taking part in the Premier Hub City All-Star game also on Monday.

The fourth all-star game is for the Elite League teams on Sunday. The Thunder don’t have an Elite League team.


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