AUBURN — The Twin City Thunder continued their strong play at Norway Savings Bank Arena on Saturday night.

The Thunder improved to 4-0 at home with a 3-1 win against the Northern Cyclones in a USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference game.

“It was a good team win, a good 60-minute effort,” Thunder (5-5-1, 11 points) coach Dan Hodge said. “I thought (in the second period) when the door broke, we lost our vibe a little bit there. We got back after four, five minutes, we picked up the pace again.”

Thunder goaltender Dane Couture made 29 saves in the victory.

“You have to be there for the team,” Couture said. “I am trying to be a team player, and getting a win is always good. I do what I got to do to get a win.”

Thunder forward Nate Chickering has had a knack for scoring in the first minute of the game this year. On Oct. 13, he put Twin City on the board 11 seconds into the game in a win over the Boston Advantage. Saturday, it took him a little longer, 33 seconds in, to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Ben Monson and Trace Norwell set the goal up.

“It was a good start to the game; Chickering has been a leader all year and getting us off to the right start,” Hodge said. “We wanted to have a fast start, and scoring in the first minute of the game is always a good start.”

Midway through the first period, Cyclones (5-3-1, 11 points) forward Massimo Pietroniro skated into the offensive zone and he beat Couture on the glove side to tie the game at 1-1. The assists went to Paden Hick and Donovan Burdette.

“It was a 2-on-0, and I cheated a little bit on the pass,” Couture said. “The kid had a nice shot; I have to give him credit.”

With about six minutes remaining in the opening period, the Thunder struck on the power play. Defenseman Ryan Hintz set himself up beside the crease to put home a Tristan Rand cross-ice pass for a 2-1 lead. Carter Schram also had an assist.

In the second period, with 12 minutes remaining, a check by Rand to a Cyclones player in the offensive zone broke a latch off one of the doors to get off the ice. There was a 10-minute delay to allow the rink crew to fix the latch.

Hodge, who played in the minor leagues, has never seen a latch break off the door before.

“That was a strong, solid hockey check along the wall,” Hodge said. “Something had to give.”

It was an even second period, with both teams recording eight shots on goal. The best scoring chance in the period was by Pietroniro, who hit the far post on a partial breakaway.

The third period started with the Thunder killing a five-minute major. Schram, the Thunder’s top-line center, was called for boarding 1:20 into the period. The Cyclones peppered Couture with eight shots in the five minutes but couldn’t get anything by the first-year goalie.

“I knew we would have a long five minutes ahead of us, and I knew the guys would gear up, block shots and clear the (shooting) lanes,” Couture said. “All the props go to the (penalty)-killers for that to make my job easy.”

The Thunder had two shorthanded chances in the final minute of the penalty kill, but tired legs couldn’t get a grade-A opportunity off on either chance.

Tyler Healey scored the insurance goal with less than two minutes remaining in the third period, beating Cyclones goalie Kristoffer Eberly (33 saves). He was checked hard to the ice as he shot the puck and was slow to get back to his feet.

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