The St. Lawrence Thunder boys and girls 14U hockey teams skated to New York State Amateur Hockey Association Tier II championships this past weekend.
THUNDER BANTAMS BOYS DEFEND 14U CROWN
In Amherst, the St. Lawrence Thunder Bantam boys dominated their way through the preliminary round and semi-finals before gaining a 3-2 overtime win decision over the Rochester Grizzlies in the Tier II 14U final. Last years Thunder Bantams relayed the state Tier II title into a berth in the USA Hockey National Championship game in New Jersey before settling for the silver medal. This years national Tier II tournament is slated for the first week in April in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Coached by Bobby Smith, who is making a fourth straight appearance to the nationals, along with assistants Dan Bero, Mike McCormick and Chris Kormanyos, the Thunder Bantams include players from several area school districts. At the state tournament this past weekend, they opened with a 5-0 win over the Westchester Vipers before going on to beat Cheektowaga 5-2 and overpower the Auburn Icehawks 11-2 in their other first-round games. They advanced to the Sunday final with a 3-0 decision over Adirondack in their semi-final round contest.
Thunder 5, Westchester 0: The Thunder got the tournament off to an encouraging start on Friday, breaking open a close game with a three-goal outburst in the middle frame before sealing the win with a pair of third-period tallies. Wyatt Wilmshurst, Kaden Pickering and Jordan Robert all generated a goal and assist. Nate Bressard and Shane Cryderman struck for the other goals while Riley Clark and Josh Underwood each recorded solo assist. Noah Kormanyos backstopped the shutout.
Thunder 5, Cheektowaga 2: In their Saturday-morning matchup, the Thunder gave up the first goal of the game before taking control of the game with a three-goal surge in the second period.
Pickering anchored the winning offense with a pair of goals. Robert and Wilmshurst both finished with a goal and assist. Nick Henrie broke through for the other goal while Cryderman notched a solo helper. Kormanyos once again stood tall working the Thunder crease for the win.
Thunder 11, Auburn 2: The Thunder closed out the preliminary round in overwhelming fashion, countering the first goal of the game by the Icehawks with seven straight goals in the first period. Turner Thomas stepped up to lead the potent offense with three goals and an assist. Robert tallied two goals and one helper. Bailey Conklin chipped in a goal and three assists. Wilmshurst and Clark both recorded a goal and two assists. Bressard (1 assist), PIckering and Jon Paul Chauvin struck for the other Thunder goals while Jarred Jackson capably handled the goaltending duties.
Thunder 3, Adirondack 0: In their Sunday morning semi-final matchup, the Thunder skated through two scoreless periods before finding the range for three unanswered goals in the third. Wilmshurst finished off a play set upp by Pickering just 2:51 into the final frame for what would hold up as the game-winner thanks to another stellar performance between the pipes by Kormanyos. Conklin made it 2-0 at the 8:12 mark assisted by Cryderman, who iced the win three and a-half minutes later assisted by Pickering.
Thunder 3, Rochester 2 (OT): A hard-fought championship game saw the Thunder twice rallied from a one-goal deficit before going on to stop the Grizzlies in the first 10-minute overtime session.
Rochester opened the scoring at the 4:08 mark when Pierce Currie broke through for the only goal of the first period. The Thunder pulled even at 10:02 of the second after Robert finished off a play set up by Andrew McCormick for a shorthanded goal and the teams were tied at 1-1 going into the second intermission.
The Grizzlies regained the lead just 2:29 into the third period on a goal by Jacob Spaiches before Pickering knotted the score at 2-2 by converting off assists from Robert and Wilmshurst with 5:10 left in regulation.
Robert ended the game with 5:55 left in the first OT, knocking home the rebound of a hard shot from the point by Cryderman while the Thunder were on the man-advantage. Wilmshurst picked up his second assist of the game on the championship winning goal while Kormanyos was a key factor working the crease for his fourth win of the tournament.
Also contributing over the course of the weekend were Ben Sprague, Dan Casey and Sam Woods. With their five wins, the Thunder improved to 42-12-5 as they get set to once again chase a national championship with a lineup that features an even mix of returning players from last years team and newcomers.
THUNDER GIRLS WIN 14U TITLE
Playing in Clinton this weekend, the St. Lawrence Thunder 14U girls outscored their opponents 15-3 over the course of their five wins as they earned a trip to the USA Hockey National Tier II Championships in San Jose, California, the first week in April.
The Thunder won their three preliminary round games over the West Seneca Wings (3-1), the Syracuse Blazers (1-0) and the Hamburg Hawks (6-1) to gain a bid to the semi-finals where they skated to a 4-1 win over Troy-Albany. They went on to claim a hard-fought 1-0 overtime decision over Hamburg in the championship game Sunday night.
The Thunder 14U Girls improved to 38-13-4 with their weekend sweep to the state Tier II title. Made up of players from several area school districts, the team is coached by Renee Young, Bill MacCuaig and Matt Cullen. Team members include; Sidney Molnar, Maya Swamp, Katie MacCuaig, Liza Collins, Jordan Emerson, Jayden Young, Madison Cullen , Abby Paquin, Kaitilin Irvine, Madeline Mailhot, Mikenna Merry, Kerrigan Rondeau, Raechel Davis, Molly OConnell, Sam Mace and Mary Kait Mace
The USA Hockey National Tournament is an excellent opportunity for our North Country players to showcase their talents on a national stage. Anyone willing to support this effort, please send a check payable to: Shannon MacCuaig - St. Lawrence Girls Thunder Treasurer, 5 Browning Road, Massena, NY 13662 before March 30th, 2013. For more donation information, please contact coach MacCuaig via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.