WAYNE, NJ - The St. Lawrence Thunder Bantams netted their second 6-3 win in as many days at the USA Hockey Tier II 14&Under National Championships to clinch a berth in the quarter-final round.
Maddox Merry generated two goals and two assists as the Thunder outscored the Lancaster Firebirds of Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon. Patrick Manning contributed two goals and an assist toward the win while Jordan Robert tallied a goal and two helpers.
Brandon Cousineau opened the scoring for the Thunder by finishing off a play set up by Merry and Robert at the 7:45 mark of the first period. The Firebirds pulled even three minutes later when Tyler Bennett broke through for an unassisted goal and the teams went into the first intermission knotted at 1-1.
The Thunder took control of the game in the middle period where they outscored Lancaster 3-1. Merry notched his first goal at the 1:01 mark assisted by Kaden Pickering. Manning then made it 3-1 just 39 seconds later assisted by Hayden Hart.
The Firebirds pulled back to within one at the 4:50 mark after an unassisted goal by Bobby Cressman but Merry restored the two-goal advantage when he connected from Robert for a shorthanded goal with 53 seconds left in the second frame.
Lancaster opened the third by making it 4-3 when Bennett converted for a power play goal off assists from Ted Granbois and Matt Milne at the 4:36 mark. Manning and Robert went on to seal the win with goals in the final 1:30. Bailey Hewlett set up the fifth Thunder goal while Pickering and Merry drew assists on the final tally which came with 25 seconds left in regulation.
Logan Brothers worked the Thunder crease for 14 saves while Justin Guervarez handled 24 shots in the loss as the Firebirds slipped to 1-1.
The Thunder will look to move up the seedings for Saturdays quarter-finals when they close out the preliminary round against the New Hampshire Monarchs (0-2) today starting at noon.
THUNDER MIDGETS FALL
At the Tier II 16&Under Championships in Green Bay Wisconsin, the Thunder Midgets saw a slow start lead to a rough finish as they dropped a 6-1 decision to WHEL Madison.
The locals fell behind early when AJ Gullickson broke through just 54 seconds after the opening face-off. Madison added two more unanswered goals over the final six minutes of the first period then countered the only Thunder goal with the other three.
Tyler Young made it 3-1 off an assist from Tye Terrance at 7:36 of the second period but Madison broke the game open with a pair of power play goals just 33 seconds apart late in the middle frame. Madison went on to generate a fourth power play marker with 9:02 left in the third to seal the win.
Gullickson finished with three goals and an assist as Madison evened its tournament record to 1-1. Zach Brown added two goals and an assist. Griffin Epping struck for the other goal while Michael MacDougall made 17 saves backstopping the win.
Devin Crary (32:24, 13 saves) and Connor Paquin (18:26, 5 saves) shared crease duties for the Thunder who will look to close out the preliminary round on a positive note when they take on the Littleton Hawks (2-0) of Colorado today at noon.
THUNDER PEEWEES DENIED
After opening with a win at the Tier II 12&Under tournament in Asburn-Reston, Virginia, the Thunder PeeWees saw their first round record slip to 1-1 after falling to the DU Junior Pioneers of Colorado by the scoring of 6-1.
The Pioneers only led 1-0 after the first period but broke the game open with three goals in the second and two more in the third, the last three coming on the power play.
Joshua Sanchez spoiled the shutout bid with a shorthanded goal assisted by Billy Bergan with 59 seconds left in regulation.
Brian King led DU with a goal and two assists.Luke Ciolli, Luke McFarlane, Matthew Kopperuud, Jacob Marti and Kyle Gielow scored the other goals while Hunter Bancroft (30:00, 6 saves) and Colin LeBere (15:00, 2 saves) combined between the pipes for the win.
Merrick Taraska turned aside 23 shots in the losing cause.
The Thunder now face a must-win situation today when they take on an 0-2 New Hampshire Monarchs squad at noon.
in the first round finale for both squads.