AUBURN — The Twin City Thunder built an early lead and held off the South Shore Kings for a 7-6 win Friday night in USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference action.

“We had a pretty fast start and it kind of snowballed,” Thunder coach Dan Hodge said. “You get a goal early and build on it. We got a couple of power plays and potted those (goals) and we got a good lead there.”

Trace Norwell had two goals and Steven Armstrong had a goal and an assist in the Thunder’s fifth win at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Armstrong enjoyed the back and forth action that Friday’s game provided.

“You are looking over one shoulder, and you are scoring a goal, and you are looking over the other and (the puck) is in the back of your net,” Armstrong said. “That happened a couple of times, it’s one of those games you don’t (play) very often, and it’s fun to play. That’s one of the reasons why you play hockey.”

South Shore assistant coach Tyler Holske said mental mistakes cost the Kings on Friday.

“We didn’t start on time and when you don’t start on time, you are going to have a score like that after the first period,” Holske said. “We got what we deserved; we had a good stretch in the second where we battled back early on to get us back into the game, but too many mistakes, too many errors that cost us.”

The scoring barrage started on a penalty kill and Nate Chickering went on a 2-on-1 with linemate Norwell. Kings goalie Cameron Kuntar stopped Chickering’s initial shot but Norwell settled the rebound down and fired the puck into the net before Kuntar could scramble back into the crease.

Defenseman Emerson Miller tied the game at 1-1 with a shot from the left boards nearly seven minutes into the contest.

Chickering put the Thunder up 2-1 with a wrap-around goal 12 minutes into the first period. Defenseman Laz Kaebel’s blast from inside the blue line put Twin City (6-5-0, 12 points) up 3-1 about a minute and a half after Chickering’s goal. The goal ended Kuntar’s (four saves) night in goal for South Shore and Tristan Mecenas (27 saves) came in.

Hodge said Caden Smith, the third member of the Chickering and Norwell line, did a good job helping his teammates.

“Tyler Healey is out with an injury and Caden Smith helped that line,” Hodge said. “It has been a great line all year, but adding Smith to that line helps us.”

Armstrong, who had the lone assist on Kaebel’s goal, scored a goal of his own with under three minutes to play in the first period to make it 4-1.

“I got right off the bench and went behind the net. My two linemates — Dom Chasse and Sam Stitz — got the puck right to me,” Armstrong said. “I just threw it on net (with a shot) and I just put it in.”

South Shore responded quickly on a 2-on-1 when Yutaro Nakadate’s shot slipped past Thunder goalie Nick Bernstein (eight saves).

The Thunder ended the first period with a power-play goal from Artem Kazakov for a 5-2 lead.

“I told the guys (in the first intermission), we had a long way to go,” Hodge said. “They were going to come out hard, and they wanted to make it (a close game). I knew they were going to come out; they are a great team and well-coached. We lost sight of what got us to be successful.”

To start the second period, South Shore began to claw back into the game when Daniel Cavanaugh scored both of his goals back-to-back to cut the deficit to 5-4.

The second goal ended Bernstein’s night in goal for the Thunder and Dane Couture (24 saves) came on in relief.

Lyncoln Bielenberg-Howarth scored his first goal with the Thunder just past the 7:30 mark of the second period to extend the lead to 6-4.

Midway through the second period, James Cerepak scored on the man-advantage to put the Kings within a goal once again.

“Cavanaugh, he’s an honest player, he’s going to work, he’s going to give you 110 percent every night,” Holske said. “Cerepak, he has a good stick and protects the puck real well along the boards. He can use his shot, he had a couple of goals, but we need him to shoot the puck more.”

Norwell scored his second goal of the game, this time on the power play, two minutes into the third period to extend the Thunder’s lead to 7-5.

Cerepak scored for the Kings with under five minutes remaining in the game. It was his second power-play tally.

Both teams were 2-for-4 on the power play.

The Thunder travel to take on the Boston Advantage on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Raynham, Massachusetts.


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