AUBURN — The Twin City Thunder like home cooking.

After scoring seven goals in the home opener last Friday against the Islanders Hockey Club, the Thunder defeated the Boston Advantage 7-3 in a USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference game Wednesday afternoon at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

“You want to protect the house, (teams) are coming to your place wanting to beat you in front of your home (fans),” Thunder captain Nathan Chickering said. “We want to make sure teams know they are going to get the best Twin City team you are going to play all season long.”

Chickering led the Thunder (3-3-1, 7 points) with two goals and one assist.

Boston coach Joe Lovell said his team couldn’t finish plays on Wednesday.

“I thought we did not let up. I didn’t think our execution was very (good) on the power play or on our special teams,” Lovell said. “It’s something we definitely need to work on, but I thought our transition play was very good, and possession was pretty good.”

The Advantage (2-4-0, 6 points) were 0 for 5 on the man advantage while the Thunder were 0 for 4.

The first period ended up being a goal-fest in the first three minutes.

Chickering drove to the net off the opening faceoff and beat Advantage goalie Connor Bradford (19 saves) just 11 seconds into the game. Chickering credited linemates Trace Norwell and Tyler Healey for getting the play started and recording the assists.

The trio has built chemistry with the extra work they put in early in the season.

“We put in some extra work after practice; we do a lot of 3-on-2s, we hone in on getting that second guy going to the middle (of the ice),” Chickering said. “It was a good finish, a good pass, the way you want it to happen.”

Boston answered two minutes later when Vojtech Kysela fired the puck past Thunder goalie Nick Bernstein (25 saves). Scarborough native Conor Lally had one of the assists on the goal.

“I said to (assistant coach) Alex (Drulia), ‘Boy, one shot, one goal,’” Thunder coach Dan Hodge said. “And then they came down, one shot, one goal. It was a crazy start, but it was a good one.”

The Thunder responded by getting Bradford moving side-to-side in his crease, and on Twin City’s second shot of the game, Tristan Rand gave the home team a 2-1 lead. Linemate Artem Kazakov and defenseman Nolan Sargent had the assists.

Boston controlled the play in the middle of the first period but couldn’t convert on two power-play opportunities.

Healey extended the Thunder’s lead in the final two minutes of the first stanza when he used his speed to enter the offensive zone and roofed a backhand shot into the top of the net for a 3-1 advantage. Norwell and Chickering got the puck to Healey.

Forward Matthew Anastasio provided a quick start in the second period, setting himself in the slot to rip home an Ethan Lim pass by Bradford.

The Advantage cut into Twin City’s 4-1 lead in the middle of the second period. When the Thunder was on their first man advantage, the puck bounced off Thunder defender Ben Monson, who immediately lost track of the puck. Advantage forward Cade Helmer picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated in on Bernstein for a shorthanded goal.

“The puck came off the glass kind of funny and Ben Monson tried to catch it, and it hit him in the cheek — actually he has a red mark on his cheek. Of course (Helmer) was standing right there and (he) and (Ryan) Hintz got in a foot race,” Hodge said. “Again, it was one of those bang-bang plays that kind of got them going again.”

Arik Altman cut the deficit to 4-3 a couple of minutes later with a shot from the right circle. Former Maine Nordiques player Manny Sanchez had an assist.

“We got a good dump in and retained possession of (the puck), and we brought it to the cage, which we weren’t bringing a lot of pucks to the cage today,” Lovell said. “When we did, we were very successful, and when we didn’t, we weren’t.”

The Thunder’s top line of Tristan Rand-Carter Schram-Artem Kazakov had a couple of chances later in the second period, with Schram and Kazakov nearly scoring in the final minutes.

“Artem hit one off the goalie’s glove and Schram beat (the goalie) stick-side and off the post,” Hodge said. “We had our fair share of (hitting the post).”

Forward Sam Stitz restored a two-goal lead for the Thunder midway through the third period. Hintz and forward Matus Hadusovsky had the helpers.

Chickering added an empty-net goal and Steven Armstrong scored an even-strength goal in the final two minutes to cap the scoring for the Thunder.


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