Thunder in first place


Oct. 27, 2017

By Dan Marcinkowski

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder lost a hard fought game 4-3 in overtime to Okotoks after a big 10-1 win against Coaldale. The Thunder who sit in first in the North Division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) are 6-1-1 on the season after those two games.

In the first game against Coaldale played at Ron Ebbesen Arena on Oct. 13. Airdrie control right from the get go and kept that high scoring offensive intensity all game going up 4-0 after one and then 7-0 after two periods and then finishing with a 10-1 win.

The Thunder only outshot Coaldale 46-38, so it wasn’t as lopsided as the score suggests. Airdrie goalie Ryan Simpson was solid in net once against for the Thunder making 37 saves.

Dante Raposo had five points on the night and recorded a hat-trick. Rylan Plante-Crough,

Brenden Davidson, and Clay Murray all had three points for the Thunder.

The game against Okotoks was a good one. Airdrie took a quick 3-1 lead heading into the second, but Okotoks tied it up at 3-3. The game went scoreless in the third period and Okotoks got the overtime winner in extra time. Clay Murray had another strong game for the Thunder scoring twice, while Raposo added two helpers. Simpson made 36 saves in the loss.

After this game, Okotoks climbed to a first-place tie in the Southern Division with Coaldale.

Thunder coach Derek Stamp thought the game could have went either way for either team.

“We traded chances all game long and to be honest we had some really good chances late,” he said.

“Both Clay and Dante had great chances with less than 3 minutes left in the third and their goalie made some big saves.”

“They capitalized when they got their opportunity in overtime, but it was a close game and it was a good game.”

Losing might not be the result anyone wants, but in the long-run it can help the team. The Thunder gave up a two goal lead and will want to better protect their leads moving forward.

“Sometimes a little bit of adversary and losing with a lesson helps in the long-run,” said Stamp.

The team is playing some good hockey, and the coach thinks it is on the right path of how he wants the Thunder to play.

“We’re taking steps forward,” said Stamp.

“Our structure is getting better each game and we are starting to play with some responsibility and accountability. We are not there yet, but we are getting there.”

It looks like there are several good teams in the HJHL this year and not one team has separated itself from the rest as the clear cut best, but it’s still early in the season with most teams playing around seven or eight games.

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