The Twin City Thunder’s goal at the United States Premier Hockey League’s Summer Showcase was to start building chemistry for the upcoming season.

Co-owner and head coach Dan Hodge entered two teams into the showcase, which was played at multiple locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire over the weekend. Both Thunder teams went 2-1.

“You are trying to get some looks at players, with our main camp coming in August,” Hodge said. “We had a good bunch of our draft picks and tenders (playing). We had (forwards) Nate Chickering, (Lewiston native) Dominic Chasse and (goalie) Devon Bobak returning from last year out there. We just wanted to see where we stack up and where we need to get to.”

The main camp runs Aug. 19-22 at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. There will be plenty of roster spots available on the Thunder’s Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference team, since 14 players from last season’s team moved on to play college hockey.

The Thunder teams included a strong contingent of area players playing this past weekend. Along with Chasse were fellow Lewiston natives Damon Bossie, Nick Pomerleau, Evan Knowlton, as well as Auburn’s Jacob Lewis, who was a teammate of Chasse on St. Dom’ 2019 Class A state championship team and played for the Maine Moose in 2020-21.

Bossie and Knowlton played for Lewiston High School this past season.

“(Knowlton), he played great, for a (2004-born player), he made a name for himself, he played really well,” Hodge said. “He scored a game-winning goal (Saturday) morning. … He represented himself really well.”

Lewiston’s Damon Bossie smashes the puck past Edward Little’s Peyton Dyer during a game earlier this year in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Hodge liked Bossie’s combination of size, shooting and skating abilities for a defenseman. Hodge paired him with Pomerleau, who played last season with the Maine Nordiques Academy 18U team and the L/A Nordiques of the NA3HL in 2019-20.

“(Pomerleau) has the confidence, he has the ability to make plays and he’s a guy I thought played really well,” Hodge said. “We saw a lot of bright spots out there, and he played really well. He has the experience, he has the confidence, and also, again, playing with Bossie helps with the familiarly.”

Chasse scored a couple of goals during the showcase and, according to Hodge, looked confident on the ice.

Hodge also liked the play of the goaltenders, Boback, 2021 draft pick Owen Carlson and Brody Haynes, who played for the Maine Nordiques Academy 18U team last season.

Ben Monson, a 2021 draft pick was another standout on the blue line during the showcase. Hodge said that forward Ethan Lim and defenseman Ryan Hintz, who signed tenders earlier this year, also had good weekends.

Hintz is a highly sought-after defenseman. He was drafted by the Sioux City Musketeers  of the United States Hockey League and the Chippawa Steel of the North American Hockey League.

Another touted defenseman, Owen Simmons, who was drafted this past spring by the Thunder, didn’t compete at the showcase. The 17-year-old, who lives in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and played for the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, was drafted by the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL last week.

Simmons was also selected in the 2020 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft, in the eighth round by the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, as well as this year’s Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League, by the Saint-Jerome Panthers.

Hodge said the Thunder and Simmons have maintained communication this summer.

“He’s a kid that we have been in contact with, and he has been talking with the Q as well,” Hodge said. “He has a lot of options, let’s put it that way. If he plays in Auburn, that’s fantastic. He’s a kid we have high expectations for, and the sky is the limit. I think it depends on the (Canadian) border and kind of going from there.”

On Monday, Canada announced that it will begin allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country Aug. 9 without requiring a 14-day quarantine. The United States has not yet announced a decision to alter its travel restrictions. Currently, Canadians are allowed to fly into the U.S. with a negative COVID-19 test.

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