AUBURN — The Boston Junior Bruins’ top-six forwards caused problems in a 6-4 victory over the Twin City Thunder on Friday night in a USPHL National Collegiate Development Conference game.

Easton Ryan had one goal in each period, while Holy Cross commit Joe Solimine had two goals for the Jr. Bruins (12-7-1, 25 points). Connor Wood, who played for the Maine Nordiques last year, had a goal and two assists.

“(Ryan) does a lot of little things well that don’t always show up on the scoreboard that make him as effective as he is,” Jr. Bruins coach Mike Anderson said. “He’s really started turning the corner over the last two, three, four weeks. I am excited to see what the second half of the year brings for him.”

Ryan now has 14 goals on the season, while Wood has 12 and Solimine has 11.

Ikki Kaogawa set up the Jr. Bruins’ first goal by skating down the left boards and Ryan drove to the slot. Kagawa sent a pass and Ryan deflected it past Thunder goalie Dane Couture (36 saves) at the 5:22 mark of the first period.

Later in the period, Solimine got Couture to skate out of his crease, then swept the puck around Couture into the goal for a 2-0 lead three-plus minutes after Ryan’s goal. Aaron Catron and Wood had the assist.


Thunder (9-10-1, 19 points) coach Dan Hodge said they did the one thing you can’t do against the Jr. Bruins: get behind the eight ball.

“We couldn’t stop shooting us in the foot,” Hodge said. “It was tough; we were playing from behind all game. You can’t play from behind against that team.”

With under two minutes remaining in the first period, Thunder center Sam Stitz found his linemate Matt Cole in the neutral zone with a pass. Cole skated into the offensive zone on a breakaway and his snapshot beat Jr. Bruins goalie Colin Winn (38 saves) cleanly.

“It was a great pass by Stitz, and Cole finished to make it 2-1,” Hodge said. “He cut the deficit in half going into the (intermission), and we came back to tie it in the first 10 minutes of the second period.”

Cole was a call-up at the beginning of the week from the Metro Jets of the USPHL’s Premier League after the coaching staff saw him play with the Jets a few weeks back at the Islanders Hockey Club Showcase. Hodge said Cole is staying with the Thunder for a while.

Early in the second, Thunder forward Tyler Healy found linemate Nathan Chickering with a pass. Chickering’s shot from the right circle found the back of the net as the net came off its moorings to tie the game 2-2. The goal came just past the five-minute mark of the middle frame.


Ryan scored his second goal of the game with under five minutes remaining in the second by beating Couture just above the glove to retake the lead.

Wood scored from the weak side when he set up in the left circle and finished off a cross-ice pass from Solimine with 1:45 remaining in the second period. He then skated to the corner and leaped into the glass to celebrate with some of his former Nordiques teammates who came to watch him play on their weekend off.

“I happened to be next to the boys, and I gave them a little fist-bump to get them going,” Wood said.

Wood was at The Colisee last week to watch the Nordiques victory over the Northeast Generals.

Wood said he joined the Jr. Bruins because it was a better opportunity to impress college coaches in his final year of junior hockey eligibility.

Anderson said Wood grabbed the opportunity of playing in the Jr. Bruins’ top six.


“He has been a really nice addition for us,” Anderson said. “Like in the same lines as Easton, in terms of he seems to be in the right place at the right time. He has scored some timely goals, including that one tonight. We didn’t have a lot of momentum at that time, so it was really good to get that one there.”

Ryan completed the hat trick early in the third period with a shot from the slot that just beat Couture.

Tristan Rand scored for the Thunder to cut the deficit to 5-3 with under six minutes remaining in the third period. Ethan Lim and Blake Tierney had the assists.

Solimine’s shot trickled through Couture with 4:29 remaining in the period to extend the Jr. Bruins lead to 6-3. Wood had another assist on the goal.

Stitz scored a one-timer from Cole in the slot 25 seconds after Solomine’s goal. Lewiston native Dom Chasse had the secondary assist.

The Thunder have a quick turnaround as they head to Hudson, New Hampshire, to take on the Northern Cyclones at noon Saturday.

Hodge said the team has to erase Friday’s game from their mind.

“You think about (tonight’s game) while in the locker room, you go take a shower and wash it off to get ready for tomorrow because it’s coming fast,” Hodge said. “The Cyclones, we beat them the last time here (in Auburn), and they will want to get two points. So we have to make sure we match their intensity.”

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