Thunder News-by Scott Fisher

Aug. 20, 2019

Coach Stamp and staff begin piecing together the 2019-2020 edition of the Airdrie Techmation Thunder 


August 20, 2019

Most teams would like to improve on their previous season.

Sometimes, that’s just not possible.

Take the Airdrie Thunder, for example.

Let’s re-cap their 2018-19 campaign: It started with a franchise-record 35-3 regular season, followed by a 11-2 run en route to a Heritage Junior Hockey championship, and was topped off with a perfect 5-0 gold-medal run at the provincials.

“I don’t think you can ever top a season like we had last season,” says Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said. “If you talk to anyone who coaches, those come along so infrequently, so you enjoy them when they happen and then you start fresh again.

“We just want to make sure we continue with the culture we’re building.

“Last year’s team was really professional. We had a lot of guys who had played Junior A and higher. They understood what it meant to be playing junior hockey, how you show up, the preparation.

“That’s what we want to carry forward.”

The Thunder might not put up the eye-popping numbers from a year ago, when they out-scored the opposition by an absurd 335-96.

But they won’t bottom out either.

“We think we’ll be competitive and be in a position to be successful on most nights,” Stamp says. “We’ll go in with the same focus and make sure we have the right people in the right spots, and then when things come together, we’ll see what happens.

“Who knows if we can repeat what we did last season. All we know is that it will be different.”

But not drastically so.

Jordan McConnell, who re-wrote the HJHL record book with a 125-point campaign, will be back to terrify goaltenders across the league.

But linemate and fellow 50-goal man Rylan Plante-Crough has aged out along with Zac Giroux.

The club’s third- and fourth-leading scorers, Cooper Page and Jason Wenzel, will be joined by blueliner Tyler McCarry at the University of Providence Great Falls in Montana.

Goaltender Ryan Simpson will be between the pipes for the Boise State Broncos and Brett LeGrandeur is off to the SJHL to suit up for the Yorkton Terriers.

Barrett Sheen and captain Jacob MacDonald are also out with school and work commitments.

Losing a large part of the championship roster is certainly no surprise to Stamp.

“We were an older team, for sure,” Stamp said. “The way our roster started coming together at the end of pre-season and the early part of the regular season, we knew we had an opportunity to be something special.

“We threw our chips in and we were OK carrying a lot of 20-year-olds, knowing that we’d get into a situation like we’re in this year.

“Of the 24 guys we had last year, I think we’ll lose 12 or 13 of them.”

As much talent that is walking out the door, there’s a boatload that remains.

“McConnell, Tristan Paquette and Kirkland Spencer will be three of our four 20-year-olds,” Stamp says.

“We’re still trying to figure out the fourth spot. There’s a possibility it will be (provincial overtime hero) Brayden Dunn, assuming his ankle will hold up.

“So we have a good group of 21-year-olds to take the lead and we have some returning rookies. Jackson Little is back in net so we have expectations for him taking a step forward in his second season.”

Stamp and his staff will begin piecing together the 2019-20 edition of the Thunder when training camp kicks off on Sept. 3.


Thunder take 2-0 lead in HJHL final


March 25th, 2019

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are one win away from the franchise's first HJHL championship in 19 years.

Jordan McConnell scored a pair of goals as the Thunder beat the host Coaldale Copperheads 6-4 on Saturday night.

The victory gives the Thunder a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series that they can wrap up on home ice on Tuesday (8 p.m. At the Ron Ebbesen Arena).

Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp said his squad showed resiliency on Saturday.

“There was lots of adversity, but we handled it the right way,” Stamp said of the game that was scoreless through 30 minutes.

“Our guys stayed focused and it paid off in the end.”

Rylan Plante-Crough, Cooper Page and Zachary Giroux all had a goal and an assist in the win while Barrett Sheen also found the back of the net.

Former Thunder winger Jarret Bainbridge scored for Coaldale.

Jackson Little made 27 saves as the Thunder outshot the Copperheads 34-31.


Thunder take Game 1 of HJHL championship

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder drew first blood in the HJHL championship.
Ben Orde, Tyler Petrie and Kirkland Spencer scored as the Thunder beat the visiting Coaldale Copperheads 3-1 on Friday night.
Game 2 goes Saturday night in Coaldale (7:30 p.m.).
Orde set the tone early, finding the back of the net just 1:07 after the opening faceoff.
"It was nice to get an early one and get the boys going," Orde said.
Goaltender Jackson Little booted out 24 pucks for the victory and had to be sharp in the third period when Coaldale had a lengthy two-man advantage.
"He played outstanding, especially early in in the third period when we had to kill off that 5-on-3," Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said. "He made a huge save and helped keep the momentum in our favour.
"He’s been solid all playoffs."
Little, making his fifth consecutive start, credited his teammates, who outshot the Copperheads 52-25.
"We did a good job of playing our game and keeping it simple," Little said. "It’s fun to play more games and the boys are playing well in front of me."

Thunder set to host Copperheads in HJHL final


March 22nd, 2019

On paper, the HJHL championship series is a surprise to no one.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder and the Coaldale Copperheads, who will meet in Game 1 of the HJHL final on Fridaynight (8 p.m. At the Ron Ebbesen Arena), were the top two teams in the league during the regular season.

But things don't always work out the way statisticians think they will.

“It doesn't happen very often,” says Thunder head coach Derek Stamp, “where the matchup that appears on paper during the regular season ends up being the matchup for the final.

“But we were the top two teams, so I don't think it's surprising.”

Although the Copperheads were one goal away from elimination when the upset-minded Medicine Hat Cubs pushed Coaldale to overtime in Game 7 of the South Division semifinal.

The Snakes survived that scare and might be better off for overcoming some adversity.

For the Thunder's part, they staved off a determined Mountainview Colts team in the North Division final, so both HJGL finalists appear to be battle-tested.

“Coaldale was one goal away from not advancing and were able to pull it out, and then had more of a one-sided affair against Cochrane (in the South Division final),” Stamp says.

“And for us, it was good to get pushed by Mountainview the way that we did. They played us hard and showed us something we hadn't seen much of during the season.

“And now here we are in the final. Both teams have faced adversity and made adjustments.”

The Thunder (35-3) and Copperheads (29-7-2) were only separated by 10 points in the standings, but the two teams are probably closer than that as they split their two head-to=head tilts.

The Thunder went 18-1 on home ice. The lone blemish? A 4-3 loss to the Copperheads on Nov. 16 that snapped Airdrie's season-opening 18-0 winning streak.

Maybe it should come as no surprise then that Coaldale actually posted a better winning percentage on the road (.816) than they did at home (.763), where the Thunder posted a lopsided 10-3 victory in the second game of the season on Sept. 22.

Why are they so good on the road?

“A lot of the data we have specific to us matching up with Coaldale, the stats from the two games against each other or the video, it's dating back to November,” Stamp says. “That's a pretty big gap and a lot of things can change.

“In the game they beat us, they just played a really solid road game. They drive the net hard and play at a fast pace abd it got us on our heels.”

There will be a few familiar faces on the visitors bench.

Former Thunder forward Jared Bainbridge leads the Copperheads with seven goals in the post-season.

“There's always a unique link between Airdrie and Coaldale,” Stamp says. “They have Bainbridge and they typically have a few Airdrie kids who leave to go to school in Lethbridge.

“(Defenceman) Mitchell Konschuk is another kid who grew up playing in Airdrie and goes to school in Lethbridge.

“So there's a neat rivalry there.”



Thunder-Copperheads: Tale of the tape

Regular season

Thunder: 35-3-0, 70 points, first in North Division

Copperheads: 29-7-2, 60 points, first in South Division


Thunder: 18-1-0 (GF: 171 GA: 43), .947

Copperheads: 14-4-1 (GF: 99 GA: 51), .763


Thunder: 17-2-0 (GF: 164 GA: 53), .895

Copperheads: 15-3-1 (GF: 100 GA: 49), .816

Special Teams

Thunder: Powerplay - 31.7% (1st in HJHL); Penalty kill - 83.9% (6th)

Copperheads: Powerplay - 20.9% (2nd); Penalty kill - 83.1% (8th)

HJHL Championships

Thunder: Two (1997, 2000)

Copperheads: One (2015)


Thunder: first-round bye; beat Blackfalds 4-0 (GF: 36 GA: 5); beat Mountain View 4-2 (GF: 28 GA: 16)

Copperheads: first-round bye; beat Medicine Hat 4-3 (GF: 25 GA: 21); beat Cochrane 4-1 (GF: 21 GA: 13)


Sept. 22: Airdrie 10 @ Coaldale 2

Nov. 16: Coaldale 4 @ Airdrie 2



Thunder eliminate Colts in Game 6, advance to final


March 14th, 2019

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are off to the HJHL final.

Wednesday's 4-3 victory over the Mountainview Colts in Didsbury gave the Thunder the North Division title in six games.

Airdrie (35-3 in the regular season) will face the Coaldale Copperheads (29-7-2) in a series that will feature the top team in each division.

The Colts took a 3-2 lead into the third period, Rylan Plante-Crough tied things up before defenceman Tyler McCarry won it for the visitors.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said the Colts forced his team to scrap for every goal it got.

“We had to fight through a fair bit of adversity and had to claw our way back in the third,” Stamp said. “The guys deserve a lot of credit.

“It wasn't a pretty one but they got it done.”

Brayden Dunn and Jordan McConnell also scored for the Thunder, who will be looking for their third championship in franchise history (1997, 2000).

“Mountainview played a real good series and pushed us in all six games,” Stamp said. “At the end, I think it was our depth that was the difference.”



Decisive win gives Thunder 3-2 series lead


March 13th, 2019

The hometown kids came to play.

Airdrie product Tyler Petrie scored a hat-trick and Zachary Giroux potted a pair as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder thumped the Mountainview Colts 6-1 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the North Division final.

Game 6 goes Wednesday night in Didsbury (8 p.m.).

Petrie has a trio of hat tricks since joining his hometown team midway through the season.

“This one feels the best,” the 19-year-old said. “Our (confidence) is high.”

Petrie has been on fire in the post-season. He leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals and 17 points in nine games.

Rylan Plante-Crough also scored and Cooper Page had three assists for the Thunder, who received a 31-save performance from Jackson Little.

Another Airdrie product who joined the club midway through the season, Barrett Sheen, said his squad seems to have ironed out the kinks since dropping Games 2 and 3.

“We started strong (on Tuesday) and got the early lead,” Sheen said. “We were a bit undisciplined, but other than that, we played good.

“The last couple games, we've played pretty good compared to the two before where we lost.

“We're not holding our sticks as tight now.”



Thunder square series 2-2


March 10th, 2019

Less than 24 hours after losing home-ice advantage, the Airdrie Thunder have it back.

Brett Campbell, Tristan Paquette and Jordan McConnell had a goal and an assist each as the Thunder beat the Mountain View Colts 5-1 in Game 4 of the HJHL North Division final on Saturday,

The best-of-seven affair is tied at two games apiece with Game 5 set for the Ron Ebbesen Arena on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m.).

Head coach Derek Stamp said his group responded well after dropping a 3-2 double-overtime heartbreaker the previous night.

“We played a solid game,” says Stamp. “We found some open ice in the D-zone and were able to capitalize.”

Luke Jensen and Barrett Sheen also scored for the Thunder, who had dropped two straight games for the first time this season.

Stamp said there was never a sense of panic or desperation.

“We've been confident throughout the playoffs.”  “And we recognized that our attention to detail needed to be better.

“It was definitely a full team effort. All four lines were rolling, our back end played hard and Jackson Little made some real big saves.”



Colts take series lead


March 9th, 2019

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder haven't faced real adversity all season.

Well, they've got all they can handle now.

The Thunder hadn't lost back-to-back games in 2018-19.

They have now.

Hockey traditionalists will tell you you're never in trouble until you lose at home.

That just happened.

The Mountain View Colts beat the Thunder 3-2 in double-overtime on Friday to turn the HJHL North Division final upside down.

Travis Gerrard forced extra time with nine minutes to play in regulation time and then sniped the winner 1:22 in double-overtime of Game 3.

Game 4 goes Saturday night in Didsbury, and forward Tristan Paquette said his teammates are not fazed in the slightest.

“I guess that's what happens when you get away from the gameplan,” Paquette said. “It's the little stuff like getting pucks in deep.

“They play a good structure.”

The Colts certainly did in overtime when they killed of a full two-minute two-man disadvantage.

“That's tough when you get a chance like that and can't bury it,” Paquette said. “You have to give a lot of credit to them ... they blocked a lot of shots.

“They play a good structure. We just have to come back and really just want it.

“That's what it comes down to.”

Brett LeGrandeur and Brett Campbell scored for the Thunder.

Game 5 goes Tuesday at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).


Colts even series with Thunder


March 7th, 2019

OK, we've got ourselves a series.

The Mountain View Colts, who have proven to be a resilient team in the post-season, answered the bell on Wednesday night.

After suffering a 6-1 loss in the HJHL series opener, the Colts responded with a 7-5 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday in Didsbury.

Game 3 goes Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

Wyatt Gelinas had a hat trick and an assist and Zane Leatherdale scored twice and added a pair of helpers as the Colts evened the HJHL North Division final at a game apiece.

Brett LeGrandeur and Tristan Paquette had a goal and an assist apiece for the Thunder, who saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said his team played well, but failed to capitalize on its opportunities.

“I thought the guys deserved better,” Stamp said. “We'll regroup and be ready to go on Friday.”

The Thunder, who posted a franchise-best 35-3 record during the regular season, have not lost two games in a row all season.

Rylan Plante-Crough, Zachary Dubois and Zachary Giroux also lit the lamp for Airdrie, which held a 45-30 advantage on the shot clock.

Both powerplays were on fire with the Colts scoring on both of their opportunities and the Thunder capitalizing on one of two attempts.



Thunder down Colts in Game 1


March 5th, 2019

The Mountain View Colts came in with all kinds of momentum.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder took it all away in about half of a period.

The Thunder got goals from a half-dozen different players to build up an insurmountable 6-0 lead in the first period of Tuesday night's series opener.

That was more than enough damage as Airdrie took Game 1 of the HJHL North Division final 6-1.

Game 2 goes Wednesday night in Didsbury (8 p.m.).

“We had a great start,” Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp understated. “We had a lot of energy and were moving the puck well.”

Brett LeGrandeur, Jason Wenzel, Jordan McConnell, Brett Campbell, Tyler Petrie and Tristan Paquette lit the lamp for the Thunder while Rylan Plante-Crough had a trio of assists.

Airdrie out-shot the visitors 29-4 in the opening frame to chase Colts starting goaltender Ethan Woodward. Griffen Andrews stopped all 17 pucks he saw in relief.

Zane Leatherdale's goal early in the third period was the lone blemish on the night for Jackson Little, who kicked out 27 pucks for the win.

“It was a different game in the second and third (periods),” Stamp said. “The Colts played us well and we made things a lot more complicated than we needed to.”

Airdrie went 1-for-3 on the powerplay and killed off all six shorthanded situations.

Game 3 goes Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).


Thunder face off against Colts for North Division


March 4th, 2019

Trailing their second-round series 3-0, the Mountain View Colts were staring at the wrong end of a broom.

But the Colts dug in, battled back and shocked the heavily favoured Red Deer Vipers, turning that broom around to pull off the ultra-rare reverse sweep.

Airdrie Techmation Thunder head coach Derek Stamp, whose club will face the Colts in the North Division final, said the Colts were full marks for their seven-game victory, the final three of which came in overtime.

“They were working really hard,” said Stamp, who watched some of the Mountain View-Red Deer series. “They were relentless and really pushed Red Deer, especially on the forecheck.

“They caused a lot of turnovers and generated a lot of their offence off of Red Deer mistakes.”

The Thunder have been off since sweeping the Blackfalds Wranglers on Feb. 24.

Airdrie will need to guard against a slow start similar to what has happened against the Wranglers. After a first-round bye, the Thunder managed a 4-3 win in Game 1.

They out-scored the Wranglers 32-2 in the final three games.

“We expect that they'll come in and push us,” Stamp said of Tuesday's series-opener (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena). “We want to make sure we manage the puck properly, especially early while we get a feel for what the flow will be like.

“I think the first 10 minutes will be interesting, although I don't know if it will make or break a series.

“They have momentum and confidence, and it's well-deserved after having success against a team like Red Deer. We played them well the four times we played them during the season. We're confident too, and we're rested.”

The Colts may have cranked up the intensity in the playoffs, but they haven't made major changes from the regular season, where they relied on a structured gameplan.

“They have a new coach (Rob Turville) who came in this season,” Stamp said. “I've had experience coaching against him at the midget AA level.

“They're very structured and focused on the small details. The works hard, they grind and they have guys who can put the puck in the net.”

The Thunder went 4-0 against the Colts during the season, out-scoring the Didsbury-based squad 24-12 in the process.

Winners of seven straight overall, and 12 in a row at home, Airdrie has every reason to be confident at the Ron Ebbesen Arena, where the team is a combined 20-1 this season.

This series will feature the top four playoff scorers with Josh Gette leading all skaters with a dozen points. The Thunder are led by Cooper Page and Tyler Petrie with 11 points apiece. Colts forward Travis Gerrard also has 11 points.


Game 1: Tuesday, at Ron Ebbesen Arena, 8 p.m.

Game 2: Wednesday, at Didsbury, 8 p.m.

Game 3: Friday, at Ron Ebbesen Arena, 8 p.m.

Game 4: Saturday, at Didsbury, 8 p.m.

x-Game 5: Tuesday, March 12, at Ron Ebbesen Arena, 7:30 p.m.

x-Game 6: Wednesday, March 13, at Didsbury, 8 p.m.

x-Game 7: Friday, March 15, at Ron Ebbesen Arena, 8 p.m.

x - if necessary

Thunder-Colts: Tale of the tape

Regular season

Thunder: 35-3-0, 70 points, first in North Division

Colts: 22-14-2, 46 points, third in North Division


Thunder: 18-1-0 (GF: 171 GA: 43), .947

Colts: 13-6-0 (GF: 93 GA: 58), .684


Thunder: 17-2-0 (GF: 164 GA: 53), .895

Colts: 9-8-2 (GF: 67 GA: 73), .526

Special Teams

Thunder: Powerplay - 31.7% (1st in HJHL); Penalty kill - 83.9% (6th)

Colts: Powerplay - 20.2% (4th); Penalty kill - 81.9% (9th)


Thunder: first-round bye; swept Blackfalds 4-0 (GF: 36 GA: 5)

Colts: swept Ponoka 2-0 (GF: 11 GA: 2); beat Red Deer 4-3 (GF: 24 GA: 29)


Oct. 3: Airdrie 4 @ Mountainview 2

Nov. 14: Airdrie 5 @ Mountainview 3

Dec. 7: Mountainview 3 at Airdrie 7

Jan. 25: Mountainview 4 at Airdrie 8


Thunder sweep Wranglers


February 25, 2019

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder got out the broom Sunday afternoon.
And it was a big broom at that.
Tyler Petrie scored a hat trick as the Thunder put the final touches on an HJHL North Division semifinal sweep with a 9-0 victory in Blackfalds on Sunday afternoon.
“The next round is going to be a lot tougher, so it's good to have that momentum going forward” Petrie said.
Zachary Giroux potted a pair as the Thunder out-scored the Wranglers 36-5, after a tight 4-3 series-opener.
Ben Orde, Cooper Page, Tristan Paquette and Brayden Dunn also scored for Airdrie, which will face the winner of the Red Deer Viper-Moutainview Colts Series in the the North Division Championship.
Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said his squad stayed focused on the job at hand.
“We wanted to make sure we didn't run into bad habits,” Stamp said. “We wanted to make sure we finished it out the right way and we did.
“We'll take a break for a week, have some practice and wait to see who we play.”
The Thunder will face the winner of the Red Deer Vipers-Mountainview Colts series. The Vipers lead that series 3-0 with Game 4 in Didsbury on Monday.
“We know it will get tougher and tougher, and we'll have to rely more on details and structure” Stamp said.

Thunder Take Game 3
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are one win away from advancing.
But they're still focused on the job at hand.
The Thunder demolished the Blackfalds Wranglers 13-1 on Friday night to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven HJHL North Division semifinal.
Jordan McConnell led the way with a hat trick and four points as 17 different Thunder skaters found the scoresheet.
Cooper Page, Tyler Petrie and Brett LeGrandeur potted a pair apiece for Airdrie, which outshot the visitors 50-16.
Game 4 goes Sunday afternoon in Blackfalds (3:30 p.m.) and that's where the focus will remain, said Thunder head coach Derek Stamp.
“We're just focused on the next game,” Stamp said. “This group has done a great job all season of knowing the end goal but understanding the importance of playing in the moment.”
Jason Wenzel, Jackson Gibson, Zachary Dubois and Zachary Giroux also lit the lamp for Airdrie while Jackson Little made 15 saves for the win.


Thunder blow out Wranglers in Game 2
They stretched their muscles in Game 1. And then flexed them in Game 2.
Two nights after squeezing past the Blackfalds Wranglers in their playoff opener, the top-ranked Airdrie Thunder filled the net Thursday night.
Cooper Page scored four goals, including a natural hat trick, as part of a five-point outing as the Thunder beat the Wranglers 10-1 in Blackfalds.
Jordan McConnell potted a pair while Brayden Dunn, Brett LeGrandeur, Tyler Petrie and Ben Orde also scored for Airdrie.
The Thunder, who lead the HJHL best-of-seven North Division semifinal 2-0, host Game 3 Friday night (8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen Arena).
Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said the trio of Page, Dunn and Brett Campbell was a force.
“That line was explosive, for sure,” Stamp said. “Their feet were moving early and that speed generated some great chances.”
Ryan Simpson kicked out 36 shots to pick up the win.
Stamp said his squad seemed more relaxed Thursday night,
“Everyone seemed a bit more in sync tonight,” Stamp said. “We were moving the puck with confidence and playing with better structure overall.”


Thunder open playoffs with win


February 19, 2019
No one said it was going to be easy.
And Game 1 of the HJHL North Division semifinal was anything but a breeze for the heavily favoured Airdrie Techmation Thunder.
The Blackfalds Wranglers gave the Thunder all they could handle in the best-of-seven series-opener, eventually falling 4-3 to the league's top-ranked club.
Jason Wenzel, Rylan Plante-Crough, Tyler Petrie and Cooper Page, with the eventual game-winner, scored for Airdrie.
Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said his squad had trouble finding its top gear following a 10-day layoff.
“We had some rust and struggled to click on a lot of offensive chances,” Stamp said. “We played loose at times and we'll need to find a better attention to detail as the series goes on.”
Tyler Bell scored twice for the visitors, including with five minutes remaining to set the tone for a white-knuckle finish.
Jackson Little made 28 saves to pick up the win as the Thunder out-shot the visitors 55-31.
“Overall, it was a good start to the playoffs,” Stamp said. “They pushed us, forced some adversity on us and we were able to respond the right way.”
Game 2 goes Thursday in Blackfalds with Game 3 back in Airdrie Friday night (8 p.m. At the Ron Ebbesen Arena).

Thunder open playoffs on Tuesday


February 18, 2019

It's only been 10 days.
But it feels like an eternity to the Airdrie Techmation Thunder, who will finally get back on the ice Tuesday
The Thunder will face the Blackfalds Wranglers in the second round of the HJHL playoffs on Tuesday (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).
First-place Airdrie enjoyed a first-round bye while the fifth-ranked Wranglers upset the fourth-ranked Stettler Lightning.
Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said the Wranglers have gotten stronger as the season progressed.
“They've come along throughout the season and have looked dangerous the past couple of weeks,” Stamp said. “Coming out of Christmas, we were pretty sure that we'd be running into Stettler, who always plays us tough.
“But as the weeks went on, Blackfalds looked more and more dangerous.”
The Wranglers were led by Taite Opdendries, who put up 25 goals and 47 points in 37 games.
At the other end of the rink, Thunder sniper will be looking to beat Blackfalds goaltender Danyon Lorencz (3-8, 3.92 GAA and .889 save percentage).
The Thunder had little trouble with the Wranglers during the regular season, winning all four head-to-head meeting and outscoring their competition 31-9.
“When you look at the four games that we played against them, the common theme is they play in your face,” Stamp said. “They really push you by finishing checks and making sure you pay the physical toll.
“They try to take away our speed by playing structured in the neutral zone and we're aware of that.”
The Thunder didn't skate more often during the bye as Stamp elected to let his top-ranked club enjoy a much-needed breather.
“We gave them the weekend off,” Stamp said. “They helped out at a peewee skills competition on Friday and Saturday.
“That was about it so they're ready to go.”


Thunder-Wranglers: Tale of the tape
Regular season
Thunder: 35-3-0, 70 points, first in North Division
Wranglers: 14-18-6, 34 points, fifth in North Division
Thunder: 18-1-0 (GF: 171 GA: 43), .947
Wranglers: 7-7-5 (GF: 82 GA: 70), .500
Thunder: 17-2-0 (GF: 164 GA: 53), .895
Wranglers: 7-11-1 (GF: 66 GA: 89), .394
Special Teams
Thunder: Powerplay - 31.7% (1st in HJHL); Penalty kill - 83.9% (6th)
Wranglers: Powerplay - 16.1% (9th); Penalty kill - 84.9% (5th)
Thunder: first-round bye
Wranglers: beat Stettler 2-0 in first round
Sept. 28: Blackfalds 2 @ Airdrie 7
Oct. 14: Airdrie 6 @ Blackfalds 3
Nov. 18: Airdrie 8 at Blackfalds 2
Jan. 4: Blackfalds 2 at Airdrie 10

Orde re-joins Thunder for playoff push


February 13, 2019

Big Ben is back.

OK, maybe he's not that big. But he could have a big impact on the Airdrie Techmation Thunder's championship aspirations.

The slick-skating defenceman re-joined the Thunder on the weekend and said he will commute from Fort McMurray, where he works, for the club's playoff games.

The Thunder don't know when they'll start their post-season march, or who they'll play. The first-place squad is enjoying a restful opening-round bye, and will likely face the winner of the Stettler Lightning/Blackfalds Wranglers series.

No one on the Thunder is as well-rested as Orde.

The Airdrie product last suited up with the Thunder on Oct. 5.

“I've been on the ice about once a week, it's not like I'm completely out of the mix.”

The 5-10, 160-pounder had eight points in five games with the Thunder before a job opportunity came along that he couldn't refuse.

“I had the opportunity to come up here (to Fort McMurray) and start my electrical apprenticeship,” Orde said. “It was something I couldn't turn down.

“It was definitely a tough decision, but at some point work starts to come first.”

So off he went to work in Alberta's oil patch.

He kept an eye on how his teammates were doing, watching enviously as the Thunder piled up a franchise-record 35-3 record.

That made things even harder, Orde said.

“Ten times more,” Orde said. “Brutal.

“I've been missing it a lot lately. The last two or three weeks, I've been missing playing hockey and being with the fellas.

“And now I couldn't be more excited.”

The Thunder are understandably excited to have Orde, an all-star caliber, blue-liner to their lineup just in time for the stretch run.

Thunder finish regular season with franchise record

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder capped off a historic season in record fashion.

The Thunder beat the Stettler Lightning 4-2 on Saturday night to finish the regular season at 35-3, the best record in franchise history. The 2005-06 Thunder held the previous mark at 34-4.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp, who elected to rest half of his lineup and play affiliated players, said the record was a nice way to cap off what has been a special regular season.

“We are proud of everything this team accomplished in the regular season,” Stamp said. “Although setting a franchise record was never the goal, it's a nice way to finish.

“We feel good as we head into the playoffs.”

They should be well-rested, too.

The Airdrie club, along with the second-place Red Deer Vipers, will sit back and watch the opening round of the HJHL North Division playoffs.

Some of the veterans rested Saturday night as the Thunder called up some fresh, although familiar faces.

Three sets of brothers - Jacob and Mathew MacDonald, Tyler and Jake Petrie and Mike and Zac Dubois - suited up for Airdrie.

Tonight was a good opportunity for us to give some regulars rest and heal up some minor bumps and bruises,” Stamp said.

“Our veterans played solid and provided a great foundation and were complemented by some of the skill of our AA and AAA affiliates.”

Both Petrie siblings scored while Brayden Dunn had a goal and an assist. Zac Giroux rounded out the scoring.



Thunder beat Bisons in OT

It took until the second-last game of the regular season for the Airdrie Techmation Thunder to play in a game that required overtime.

But the outcome was not much different.

Cooper Page scored his second of the night in sudden-death as the Thunder edged the Okotoks Bisons 5-4 on Friday night.

Jason Wenzel also potted a pair and Dane Bennett-Nimijean also scored for Airdrie while Zakeri Larson kicked out 42 pucks to pick up the win in his season debut.

The Thunder, who improved to 34-3, finish up the regular season Saturday night in Stettler against the Lightning. With a win, Airdrie will set a new franchise mark for the best single-season record.


Vipers snap Thunder win streak


January 27, 2019


The QEII rivalry didn't need any more fuel.

But the Red Deer Vipers added a little more gas anyway.

The Vipers snapped the Airdrie Techmation Thunder's 10-game winning streak with a wild 7-6 victory on Saturday night.

Tyler Petrie led the way for Airdrie with two goals and an assist while Cooper Page and Rylan Plante-Crough had a goal and a helper apiece.

The defending HJHL-champion Vipers, who are responsible for two of Airdrie's three losses this season, scored four straight goals to overcome a 5-3 deficit.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said his club never got on track.

“It was a series of unfortunate events,” Stamp said. “We had some injuries early.

“And some bad bounces made it tough to sustain momentum.”

Tristan Paquette and Dane Bennett-Nimijean also scored for the Thunder, who will host the Three Hills Thrashers on Friday (8 p.m., Ron Ebbesen Arena).


Thunder double-up Colts


January 25, 2019


Airdrie has the biggest, loudest, most-accurate guns in the league.

But they can't shoot the lights out every single night.

That's when the secondary scoring becomes a necessity - and guys like Cooper Page become so valuable.

Page scored twice in an 11-second span as the the Techmation Thunder beat the visiting Mountain View Colts 8-4 on Friday.

Tristan Paquette and Tyler Petrie had a goal and two helpers apiece as the Thunder won their 10th straight to improve to 32-2 on the season.

Rylan Plante-Crough, Zachary Dubois, Jacob MacDonald and Jordan McConnell also scored for Airdrie.

McConnell needed a late power play marker to extend his personal point-scoring streak to 31 games - which is every game he's suited up for this season.

“This was a great example of how dangerous we can be when we have strong secondary scoring,” Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said.

“Our top line was held in check for a large part of the game, so contributions from players like Page, Legs (Brett LeGrandeur) and Paquette really drove things.”

Airdrie outshot the visitors 54-33 and held period leads of 2-0 and 5-2. Goaltender Jackson Little booted out 29 pucks for the win.

With just four games remaining on the regular-season slate, Stamp said his squad is focused on fine-tuning its game in preparation for the playoffs.

“We definitely want to continue creating the offensive chances we've created all season long as we approach the playoffs,” Stamp said. “But we are also emphasizing our details away from the puck to ensure we are prepared for whatever type of game we need to play.”

The Thunder haven't lost since Dec. 1 in Red Deer.

They'll return to the scene of that crime on Saturday night to battle the Vipers (24-7-1) at 8 p.m.


Thunder get past Lightning


January 20, 2019

Airdrie products Rylan Plante-Crough and Tristan Paquette each scored a pair of goals as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder beat the visiting Stettler Lightning 6-2 on Friday.

Jason Wenzel and Cooper Page had a goal and an assist apiece as the Thunder improved to 31-2 on the season.

Jordan McConnell contributed three assists to run his season total to 113 points (45 goals, 68 assists). He is taking a serious run at the HJHL record for goals (56), assists (79) and points (121).

The Thunder host the Mountain View Colts on Friday (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder



Thunder blank Stampeders


January 14, 2019

Airdrie product Tyler Petrie scored a hat-trick and added an assist as the Techmation Thunder blasted the Ponoka Stampeders 10-0 on Sunday.

Jordan McConnell scored twice and also enjoyed a four-point afternoon as the Thunder improved to an HJHL-best 30-2.

McConnell now has 45 goals and 110 points on the season.

With six games remaining, he has a chance to eclipse the leahue record for goals (56) and points (121).

Zac Giroux, Tristan Paquette, Luke Jensen, Barrett Sheen and Rylan Plante-Crough also scored for Airdrie.

The Thunder, who also beat the Three Hills Thrashers 21-0 on Friday, outscored their weekend opponents 31-0.

The Thunder host the Stettler Lightning on Friday (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


Thunder set to host all-star game

Airdirie hockey fans are in for a treat.

The best players in the Heritage Junior Hockey League are coming to town.

The HJHL All-Star Game goes Sunday, Jan. 6 at 1:30 p.m. (Ron Ebbesen Arena).

Airdrie Techmation Thunder head coach Derek Stamp and his staff will lead the North Division squad, including five members of the Thunder, against the top players from the South Division.

Stamp said he's expecting a hard-fought battle.

“There’s been a lot of stuff on social media and I hope that translates into the community coming out to support the all-star game,” Stamp said. “It’s entertaining hockey and will be a great game.

“Last year’s game was back and forth with the end result being decided in a shootout. There is a lot of pride with the players selected and each team comes in with the intention to win.”

Thunder goaltender Ryan Simpson, defencemen Jason Wenzel and Kirkland Spencer and forwards Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough were selected to the team.

Players from both teams will need to put previous battles aside and treat former on-ice enemies as teammates for one day.

“I think there is a healthy competitiveness among the players in this league, but also a level of respect,” said Stamp, whose Thunder entered the Christmas break a league-best 27-2. “I’m sure it may be strange at first for some of these guys to be in the same dressing room, but it’s also a good opportunity for them to get to know each other.”

Hosting the HJHL All-Star Game is a big deal for Airdrie and Stamp said he expects the community to show its support.

“I think it’s great for Airdrie to host the game,” Stamp said. “Our ownership group has worked hard over the past few seasons in continually putting a competitive team on the ice and they will do a great job hosting this event for the HJHL.

“As a coaching staff we would love to see strong support from the community for this game, the final stretch of the Thunder season, and our playoffs!”



For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder


Thunder dump Vipers to close out 2018 schedule


December 22, 2018

The visit from the fat guy in the red suit was still a few days away. But the Airdrie Techmation Thunder got exactly what they were hoping for - a big win over the rival Red Deer Vipers. All-star defenceman Jason Wenzel scored a pair of goals as the Thunder avenged a 5-4 loss (one of just two setbacks on the season) to Red Deer by beating the visiting Vipers 6-2 on Friday night.

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell had a goal and two helpers to head into the Christmas break with 38 goals and 93 points in 26 games.

Brett LeGrandeur had a goal and a helper as the Thunder went 4-for-13 in the chippy affair to improve to 27-2. “It’s a great way to end off the first half (of the season),” LeGrandeur said. “The boys really wanted it against Red Deer. “It’s always fun to play them but it feels good to beat those guys.”

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said LeGrandeur, who now has points in 11 of his last 12 games, has been a key contributor. “He looked great,” Stamp said. “He’s been playing really well. “He fits in on any line you put him with. He always gives us a bit of a spark because he plays hard.”

Rylan Plante-Crough and Dane Bennett-Nimijean also scored for the Thunder while goaltender Jackson Little stopped 25 shots for the win.
“The first part of the season has been outstanding,” Stamp said. “And to have a decisive win like this against Red Deer to wrap it up, it’ll be important going into the second half.”

The Thunder return to action Jan. 4 when they host the Blackfalds Wranglers.
Airdrie will also host the HJHL A-Star Game on Jan. 6 (1:30 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


Thunder stomp Stampeders


December 15, 2018

Brayden Dunn must feel like he’s shooting on a soccer net when he plays against the Stampeders.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder forward has rung up a ridiculous 10 goals and 16 points in a pair of home wins over the Ponoka Stampeders.

His four-goal, seven-point outing led the way Friday night as the Thunder beat the Stamps 11-1.

Dunn can’t put his finger on the reason for his success against Ponoka.

“I don’t know,” Dunn said. “I talked to a couple of their guys and they were like ‘what’s up with you scoring against us?’

“I honestly don’t know what it is.

“I was due because I had been struggling scoring lately.”

Linemate Cooper Page potted a pair and added an assist while Rylan Plante-Crough also scored twice.

Caleb Reed, Dane Bennett-Nimijean and Barrett Sheen rounded out the scoring as the Thunder improved to 26-2 on the season.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp couldn’t explain Dunn’s dominance either.

“Yeah, he’s scored a lot goals against these guys,” Stamp said. “I don’t know.

“He’s had some luck and tonight was no different.

“He scored some really nice goals.”

Reed gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead late in the opening period before Dunn reeled off a natural hat-trick. One of his goals came with the visitors enjoying a two-man advantage.

Ryan Simpson kicked out 18 pucks, moving to 13-1 on the season.

The Thunder will wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule next Friday against the rival Red Deer Vipers (8 p.m., Ron Ebbesen Arena).

The Vipers (17-5-1) handed the Thunder one of their two losses this season so it should be easy for the Airdrie club to stay motivated.

“This team has been focused right from the beginning of the year,” Stamp said. “There’s been little lapses here and there, but we haven’t had any big dips.

“We haven’t had times where, as coaches, we’ve had to crack the whip and bring them back on point.

“But the idea of playing Red Deer on Friday keeps us focused and working towards something.”




For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder


Airdrie to host HJHL All-Star Game

Five Thunder players, coaching staff named to Team North


December 14, 2018


Airdrie hockey fans have been treated to all-star-calibre hockey all season.

Now, Airdrie Techmation Thunder fans will have an opportunity to watch the real all-star tilt. 

Airdrie will host the 2019 Heritage Junior Hockey League All-Star Game and five members of the Thunder will suit up in the Jan.6 tilt at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (1:30 p.m.).

Goaltender Ryan Simpson, defencemen Jason Wenzel and Kirkland Spencer and forwards Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough will play for Team North, which will be led by Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp and his staff.

Spencer said it was an honour to be named to the prestigious squad, especially since many more players could have been selected from his own team, which takes a 25-2 record into the weekend.

“Pretty much everybody on this team could be an all-star,” Spencer said. “We have a lot of talent on the team, so it’s definitely an honour.

“And it’s pretty cool that we get to play in front if the Airdrie fans and have a good time with it,” he said.

Stamp said his talented squad could have put more players on the all-star roster, but top-ranked teams get a maximum of five.

“There are a lot of really talented players on our team and you can easily make a case for more of them being all-stars,” Stamp said. “That being said, there are only so many roster spots and you can see why the players selected were who they were.

“McConnell and Plante-Crough have been one-two in league scoring all season long. Wenzel is leading all defencemen in points and Spencer has been rock solid, one of the best all-round defenders. Simpson is, once again, one of the top goalies in the league 

“It’s a bit tough to see players like Page, Paquette, Dunn, LeGrandeur, and Little not there as they are all having exceptional seasons. But every team needs to be represented and we know the Thunder will be represented well by the five all-stars selected.”

Stamp and his Thunder coaching staff will be tasked with putting together forward lines and defence pairings comprised of the top talent from the division’s seven teams.

“It’s pretty cool to have the game in Airdrie, and really nice to be selected as the coaching staff,” Stamp said. “There is a lot of talent in this league and I’m sure it will be a great game. We are looking forward to it.”

Spencer, who spent the past two seasons with the KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels, will put the all-star game on the backburner for now.

There’s still business to take care of.

The Thunder (25-2) host the Ponoka Stampeders on Friday (8 p.m., Ron Ebbesen Arena) and the Stamps have played the Thunder tough in two previous meetings.

“Both times we played them, they were able to get a lead,” said Spencer, who is studying business at SAIT. “You can never judge any team by their record. 

“With us being the top team, we expect the best game from every team we play.”


Thunder edge past Wheatland Kings


December 9, 2018


Newcomer Tyler Petrie has had a big impact.

The local product scored for the second time in as many games - this time potting the game-winner as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder beat the Strathmore Wheatland Kings 4-2 on Saturday night.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out 31 pucks to pick up the win.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said Little played a big role in the win.

Jackson played great,” Stamp said. “He made some solid saves when the game was 0-0 and made some graet saves late when Strathmore was really pushing.”

After a scorelss opening period, the Thunder grabbed a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Jason Wenzel, Brayden Dunn and Luke Jensen also scored for the Thunder (24-2).

Luke was playing in his second game back after a broken jaw,” Stamp said. “He really elevated his game.

He played physical, made great first passes and scored his first goal.”

Goaltender Jackson Little booted out 33 pucks for the win.

The Thunder visit the Three Hills Thrashers (1-21-1) on Tuesday (8 p.m.).


Thunder back on track with win over Colts


December 8, 2018

If this is a nightmare, Derek Stamp likely doesn't want to wake up.

Still, it has to be difficult to piece together his all-star lineup - and find enough ice-time to keep everyone happy.

“It's a nice problem to have,” Stamp said after the Airdrie Techmation Thunder beat the visiting Mountainview Colts 7-3 on Friday night.

“We look at how our lines stack up and we're fortunate we have a lot of depth.”

And it got deeper on Friday as a pair of local products - Tyler Petrie and Barrett Sheen had two points apiece in their debuts with the HJHL-leading Thunder (23-2).

Tristan Paquette led the way with two goals and a helper while Petrie, Cooper Page, Brett Campbell, Brett LeGrandeur and Dane Bennett-Nimijean also found the back of the net as Airdrie outshot Mountainview 47-39.

After moving from the AJHL's Calgary Canucks to the Grande Prairie Storm, Petrie was traded to the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos.

He chose to join the Thunder instead.

“I'm going to school next semester anyways,” said Petrie, who is enrolled in the business program at Mount Royal University.

“It was a good first game,” Petrie said. “This team is just as good as any (AJHL team), I think.

“It's pretty similar, and living at home is nice.”

Petrie played on a line with HJHL leading scorer Jordan McConnell, who had a pair of assists.

The talented duo already have a history together.

“They played together with the Canucks,” Stamp said. “They have familiarity with each other.

“It's a little tricky because Rylan (Plante-Crough) is out (serving a three-game suspension) but Petrie and McConnell may play some time together.”

That news is sure to terrify the rest of the HJHL.

Sheen, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound power forward, picked up a pair of assists before a late fight sent him to the showers early.

The 20-year-old had 17 goals, 51 points and 320 penalty minutes in 162 games with the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kootenay Ice and Moose Jaw Warriors.

He began this season with the AJHL's Okotoks Oilers (two goals, 10 points, 120 penalty minutes in 19 games) before joining the Thunder Friday night.

“He's an Airdrie kid and wanted to come back and play with some of his friends,” Stamp said. “He was great tonight - big body, physical, had a couple of points and created a lot of havoc in their end.”

The Thunder visit the Strathmore Wheatland Kings (12-10-2) on Saturday night (8 p.m.)


Thunder add local talent to lineup


December 7, 2018


The Airdrie Techmation Thunder already have the most potent offence in the HJHL.

And it just became more lethal.

The Thunder, who have the top five scorers (and seven of the top nine) in the league, have added local talent Tyler Petrie to their lineup.

Petrie, who suited up for 78 games over the past two seasons with the AJHL's Fort McMurray Oil Barons, Calgary Canucks and Grande Prairie Storm.

Tyler is going to be a great addition to our team,” Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said. “He's a local guy, a friendly face in our dressing room, and a player that brings great character and work ethic.

He's a very talented player on the ice and will add further depth to a really strong group up front.”

Petrie will be in the lineup Friday night when the Thunder (22-2) host the Mountainview Colts (12-7-1) at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).



Vipers get past Thunder


December 2, 2018

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder mounted a furious rally Saturday night in Red Deer, but eventually fell 5-4 to the Vipers.
The Vipers built a 3-0 lead before the Thunder scored three straight to tie the game in the second period. After Red Deer took a 4-3 lead, the Thunder tied it once more, but the Vipers (15-5-1) scored the game winner just 31 seconds later.
“We actually played a pretty good game,” Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said. “We were definitely in control, five-on-five, for the majority of it.
“Some bad breaks resulted in goals against and we missed some opportunities on the powerplay.
“Red Deer is a good team and it was an entertaining game. We're going to have a good week of practice and be ready for Mountainview on Friday.”
Jason Wenzel and Brett LeGrandeur scored twice each while Jordan McConnell and Cooper Page finished with three assists apiece.
The Thunder (22-2) host the Mountainview Colts (12-7-1) on Friday (8 p.m., Ron Ebbesen Arena).

Wenzel shines in Thunder victory


November 30th, 2018

When a team lights up the scoreboard like a pinball machine like the Airdrie Techmation Thunder do, the offence - rightfully - gets a lot of credit.

The defence ... not so much.

That changed Friday night as the Thunder relied on their stingy blueline brigade, and goaltender Ryan Simpson, to squeeze past the Strathmore Wheatland Kings 3-2.

Defenceman Jason Wenzel, who has been a steady if not spectacular force all season, also scored as the Thunder improved to 22-1 on the season.

Tristan Paquette and Brett LeGrandeur also found the back of the net for the hosts.

Forward Cooper Page said it was about time the defenders on his squad got some attention.

Without them, we wouldn't be the team we are,” Page said. “We have a stellar D-core, top to bottom.

The forwards, we couldn't do our job without them.”

Wenzel's powerplay blast gave the Thunder a 2-0 lead at the 8:21 mark of the opening period.

He's played in multiple leagues - he's been the WHL - and his skill level is unreal,” Page said of the slick blueliner.

He's so smooth with the puck, skates well and he's deadly on the powerplay.

He's the leading D-man in the league.”

The Wheatland Kings (11-9-1) scored late in the first period and again early in the middle frame to make it a 2-2 game. LeGrandeur's 13th goal of the season with 2:58 to play in the period stood up as the eventual game-winner.

The Thunder have been involved in plenty of lopsided victories this season, but Wenzel said he enjoys the close, hard-fought battles more.

It was a little too close for comfort,” Wenzel said. “But the boys really grinded through it.

It's fun to play these close ones.”

Wenzel, who has seven goals and 31 points in 20 games this season, is happy with how the first two-thirds of the season have gone.

The boys have helped me a lot and we've all been clicking,” Wenzel said. “When we're all playing together, it gives me a little more freedom to play offensively.

We have a big game (on Saturday) against Red Deer and that will be a real test for us.”

The Thunder take on the Red Deer Vipers (14-5-1) at 8 p.m.


Thunder's McConnell named player of the week

It worked out so nice, he did it twice.

For the second time this season, Airdrie Techmation Thunder forward Jordan McConnell has been named the Heritage Junior Hockey League player of the week.

McConnell piled up 10 points in two games on the weekend, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists in a 9-4 win over the Medicine Hat Cubs, then scoring a hat-trick and picking up three helpers the following night in an 8-4 victory over the Cochrane Generals.

McConnell, who was also named player of the week after the opening week of the season, is on pace to break the HJHL scoring records.

He leads the league in goals (35), assists (43) and points (78).


Thunder perfect on the road


November 25th, 2018

The road warriors did it again.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder improved to 12-0 on the road with an 8-4 win over the Cochrane Generals on Saturday night.

Linemates Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough each scored a hat-trick and combined for 10 points in the win.

Captain Jacob MacDonald and Caleb Reed also found the back of the net as Airdrie jumped out to a 6-0 lead.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said he liked his squad's effort.

I thought we really dominated the play throughout the game,” Stamp said. “We had a few breakdowns late that allowed Cochrane to put up four.

The Generals skate well and the game had a good pace.

It was our transition game that gave us the edge.”

Stamp said MacDonald, who missed a month with a head injury, is starting to be a difference-maker.

He's really starting to find his groove,” Stamp said.

The Thunder (21-1) host the Strathmore Wheatland Kings on Friday at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).



Thunder triumphant over Medicine Hat Cubs


November 24, 2018

Reunited, and it felt oh-so-good.

With Jordan McConnell back from an out-of-country wedding, the top line in the HJHL was back together on Friday night.

And they didn't miss a beat.

Rylan Plante-Crough scored twice and added a trio of assists while McConnell also lit the lamp twice and had two helpers as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder beat the Medicine Hat Cubs 9-4.

The Thunder improved to an HJHL-best 20-1.

The lone loss - a 4-2 setback to the Coaldale Copperheads - came when McConnell was out of the lineup.

It was tough to hear about,” McConnell said. “It was disappointing but it happens to the best of teams.

We've bounced back with a couple of wins the last few games.”

Tristan Paquette also scored a pair while Zachary Dubois, Brett LeGrandeur and Dane Bennett-Nimijean rounded out the scoring for Airdrie, which held a 47-35 advantage on the shot clock.

McConnell has 32 goals and 72 points this season and has picked up at least one point in all 18 games he's played.

Averaging four points per outing, he would have been on pace for 64 goals and 144 points. Both of those totals would shatter HJHL scoring records.

Jeff Jaquish (Airdrie/Cochrane, 1995-96) and Sean Fryer (Okotoks, 2005-06) share the league record with 56 goals while Brad Rossler (Airdrie, 2005-06) holds the league mark with 121 points.

He didn't sound like he was too concerned that his holiday might cost him a spot, or two, in the record books.

I'm not sure,” McConnell said. “I haven't done the math.

But I'm not really thinking about that.

We're looking to win a championship here and as long as we do that, that's the main goal.”

The math is still on McConnell's side.

If he maintains his current pace, and plays in the remaining 14 regular-season tilts, he'll end up with 56.8 goals and 128 points.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp was happy to see No. 17 back on the ice on Friday.

Jordan's an exceptional hockey player so when he's not in the lineup, you notice it,” Stamp said. “Obviously, having him back helps a ton.

He sees the ice really well and makes everyone around him better.

And he's a calming influence when there's adversity.”

The Thunder will look for their third straight win Saturday night in Cochrane against the Generals (7:30 p.m.).

Airdrie beat Cochrane 12-4 in their lone meeting this season on Oct. 5.


Thunder back on track


November 21, 2018

The winning streak: 18 games. The losing streak: one.

The Airdire Techmation Thunder, who had their 18-0 season-opening streak snapped on Friday night, responded with a convincing 8-2 victory over the Blackfalds Wranglers on Sunday night.

An 18-0 start is impressive and something these players should be really proud of,” Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said. “The setback on Friday against Coaldale was a great learning experience and we will be better off for having gone through it.

That being said, it was nice to see our team bounce back with a difinitive win against a divisional opponent.”

Michael Dubois scored a hat-trick and added an assist as the Thunder got back in the win column. 

Brayden Dunn had a goal and two assists while Jason Wenzel, Jackson Gibson and Zachary Giroux had a goal and an assist each.

Dane Bennett-Nimjean also scored as the Thunder improved to 19-1 on the season.

It was a very slow and sloppy start for us,” Stamp said. “We were down 2-0 early but the guys showed a lot of composure and were able to get back to the structure and effort that makes us successful.

The Thunder scored four powerplay goals and twice more while shorthanded to take control of the game.

The Thunder host the Medicine Hat Cubs on Friday (8 p.m., Ron Ebbesen Arena).



Thunder streak ends at 18


November 18, 2018

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are human after all.
The Thunder had their season-opening winning streak snapped at 18 games on Friday as the visiting Coaldale Copperheads skated to a 4-2 victory.
Tristan Paquette and Brett LeGrandeur scored for the Thunder while Airdrie product Jared Bainbridge, the reigning HJHL player of the week, lit the lamp for the Copperheads.
Paquette said it was disappointing to have the streak end.
“It was awesome,” Paquette said. “To win 18 in a row is quite an accomplishment.
“We have a lot to be proud of. The guys have been working hard all year.
“Sure, we lost one. But it’s just one and there’s a bunch of games left.”
The Copperheads (12-2-2) held a 2-0 lead before LeGrandeur got the hosts on the board with five seconds left in the second period.
Coaldale, which owned a 36-34 advantage on the shot clock, added two more early in the third period to take control of the game.
Paquette said his squad had been relying too much on its skill in recent games and it finally caught up with them.
“When you start getting away from the details and the simplicity of the game, (a loss) was bound to happen,” Paquette said.
“I’m sure the guys will be working a little harder in practice and in the game on Sunday.
“Maybe we can start another streak.”
The Thunder will have a chance to get back in the win column when they visit the Blackfalds Wranglers (4-7-4) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.


Captain MacDonald tired of watching


November 16, 2018

Hockey players, it should come as no surprise, love to watch hockey.

Unless it's their own team.

Airdrie Techmation Thunder captain Jacob MacDonald missed five games after taking a hit to the head last month.

And he wasn't a big fan of being ... well, a fan.

“Sitting out was really hard,” MacDonald said. “Especially the last couple of games when I thought I probably could have played.

“But I sat out for precautionary reasons.”

That's never a bad decision when it comes to head injuries and MacDonald, who returned to the lineup last week, said he feels completely healthy now.

“The head is feeling good,” the 20-year-old said. “I took ample time to heal.”

The high-powered Thunder continued to rack up the wins in his absence.

At 18-0, Airdrie is the lone perfect team in the province.

“Sitting out, I could see just how skilled we were,” MacDonald said. “But you could also see how, over time, we've started to depend on our skill more and more.

“And we've been getting away with it. But getting back to hard, simple plays is something we have to focus on more.”

MacDonald is back but the Thunder will be without league-leading scorer Jordan McConnell, who is out of the country attending a family wedding, when the HJHL's top team puts its perfect record on the line Friday night against the visiting Coaldale Copperheads (11-2-2) at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

The Thunder had their way with the Copperheads the first time the two teams met as Airdrie skated to a convincing 10-3 win in Coaldale in the second game of the season.

MacDonald, a chemical engineering student at the U of C, isn't expecting an easy time of it against former Thunder winger Jared Bainbridge and the Copperheads.

“I'm expecting a closer game than last time,” MacDonald said. “But I think our streak will live on.”



Thunder special teams lead the way


November 10th, 2018

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder have been a special team this season.

On Friday night it was their special teams that were the difference in a 6-3 road victory over the Stettler Lightning.

The Thunder scored on three of their six powerplays and killed off all nine shorthanded situations to remain perfect at 17-0.

“Our powerplay really clicked and was generating a lot of chances,” Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said.

“Our PK worked really hard and deserves a lot of credit for killing off that many penalties.”

Brayden Dunn led the way with two goals and an assist while Jordan McConnell had a goal and two helpers. Rylan Plante-Crough, Brett Campbell and Kirkland Spencer each finished with a goal and an assist.

The Thunder visit the Mountainview Colts (9-4) on Wednesday (8 p.m.).



Giroux pots pair in first game as Thunder win 10-6


November 4th, 2018

The rich just got richer.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder, who have an embarrassment of offensive weapons, welcomed Zachary Giroux back to the lineup for the first time this season.

Giroux scored twice and added an assist as the Thunder beat the Stampeders 10-6 in Ponoka on Sunday.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp was happy to add one of last season’s most dangerous players back into the fold.

“He looked pretty good,” Stamp said. “A little rusty, but still impactful.”

Giroux showed up at the right time. The Stamps scored three times in a span of 3:40 to take a 6-5 lead in the second period.

But Giroux knotted the game in the final minute of the period and the visitors scored four unanswered goals in the final frame to move to 16-0 on the season 

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough also scored twice apiece while Cooper Page, Jackson Gibson, Zachary Dubois and Caleb Reed added singles. Jason Wenzel contributed four assists 

Ryan Simpson played the second half of the game and kicked out all five pucks that came his way to pick up the win.

Airdrie outshot Ponoka (2-7-2) 62-29.

The Thunder visit the Stettler Lightning on Friday (7:30 p.m.).


Page scores pair as Thunder beat Lakers 8-2


November 3rd, 2018 

Keep shooting, coaches say. Eventually they’ll go in.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder kept firing away Friday night - blasting 75 pucks in all - and eventually found a chink in the armour of Lomond Lakers goaltender Brady Newton.

Cooper Page, Rylan Plante-Crough and Jordan McConnell scored twice each in the 8-2 victory as the Thunder moved to 15-0 on the season.

Page couldn’t help but tip his cap to Newton, who made 50 saves through 45 minutes to keep it a 4-2 game.

“It was one of those games where not everything went our way,” Page said. “But you have to give props to their goalie, too. He played a hell of a game.

“You have to give it to their team, too. They came out hard.”

Tyler McCarry and Tristan Paquette also scored as the Thunder had 14 different players hit the scoresheet.

Goaltender Ryan Simpson (7-0) made 25 saves for the win.

Page sits third in league scoring with 29 points, behind teammate McConnell (61) and Plante-Crough (56).

The Calgary product said he’s noticed every team brings it’s a-game against the Thunder, wanting to be the club that hands Airdrie its first loss of the 2018-19 season 

“Teams expect to play their top games against us,” Page said. “They’re going to play us hard and we have to expect that game in and game out. 

“It’s one of those things we have to prepare for.” 

Page said he expects another intense battle against the Stampeders in Ponoka on Sunday (3 p.m.).

“They play hard,” Page said of the Stamps, who held a second period lead over the Thunder before Airdrie stormed back for the win last week. “They gave us a run for our money.

“We’ll have to have everyone going.”


Dunn tricks Stamps


October 27, 2018

Scoring a hat-trick is no small feat.

Potting a pair of them is one heck of a season for most players.

Brayden Dunn picked up a pair of tricks ... in one game.

Dunn scored six goals and added a trio of assists for good measure as he nearly single-handedly took apart the Ponoka Stampeders.

But Dunn credited his Thunder teammates after Airdrie rallied to beat the Stampeders 12-4 Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen arena, running their HJHL record to a perfect 13-0.

“The guys were getting the puck to me and things were just going my way tonight,” Dunn said. “So, a lot of credit to the teammates.

“We were using each other and playing as a team even though we got down a goal.

The final score might suggest a blowout, but the Stamps actually led the contest 4-3 late in the second period.

But then Dunn went to work, scoring a natural hat-trick in just 1:44 to give the hosts a 6-4 lead heading into the final frame.

The Thunder scored six unanswered goals in the third period, turning the tight tilt into a rout.

Jordan McConnell, Brett LeGrandeur, Rylan Plante-Crough, Tristan Paquette, Kirkland Spencer and Caleb Reed also scored for the Thunder.

Dunn had trouble remembering the last time he scored a double hat-trick.

“Probably going back to pee wee,” Dunn said. “Some time in pee wee I think I got seven goals.”

That probably earned young Dunn a milkshake from his proud mom.

“Yeah, probably,” Dunn said with a chuckle. “McDonalds or something, maybe a DQ Blizzard.

“She was here watching tonight. It's the first game she's been to in a year, so that was for her, I guess.”

The reason for Mrs. Dunn's absence is that her son hasn't played hockey in over a year, sitting out with a badly injured ankle.

He decided to test out his ankle in his season debut on Oct. 19 but didn't register a point.

Since then? Hat-trick, hat-trick, double hat-trick - a dozen goals and 21 points in three games.

The ankle, it appears, is alright.

“I didn't play hockey last year because of the ankle and I wasn't going to play this year,” the 20-year-old said. “The ankle was feeling a little better so I thought I might as well give it a shot.

“It's been working pretty well for me so far. Hopefully it continues.”

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said Dunn is a true game-breaker that can turn things around in a hurry.

“The first half of the game was tight,” Stamp said. “We weren't getting the bounces and we made a lot of mental mistakes.

“The whole team elevated but a big part of that was Brayden Dunn. He scored some quick goals and gave us a push-back at the end of the second (period), and then everyone started rolling.”

The Thunder travel to High River on Saturday to take on the Flyers (4-8-2) at 5:30 p.m.


Thunder storm Lakers 15-1


October 21, 2018

They scored early. And they scored often.

Dane Bennett-Nimijean scored 45 seconds after the opening face-off and finished with one of the team's three hat-tricks as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder crushed the Lomond Lakers 15-1 on Saturday night in Claresholm.

Cooper Page and Brayden Dunn also enjoyed three-goal outings as the Thunder remained perfect at 11-0.

“We were able to roll all four lines and make sure everyone got a lot of ice time,” said Thunder head coach Derek Stamp.

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell scored twice and finished with a game-high five points.

Linemate Rylan Plante-Crough had a goal and four points.

Jason Wenzel, Brett Campbell and Kirkland Spencer rounded out the scoring while rookie goaltender Jackson Little made 18 saves in the lopsided win.

The Thunder look to keep rolling on Tuesday when they visit the Three Hills Thrashers (8 p.m.)




Thunder stage third-period comeback to beat Bisons 3-2


OCTOBER 19, 2018

Make it a perfect 10.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder improved to 10-0 on the season, but they had to work for their latest win, a 3-2 triumph over the visiting Okotoks Bisons on Friday night.

Trailing 2-1 midway through the third period, the Thunder got goals from their big guns — Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough — to remain the lone perfect team in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.

Caleb Reed scored Airdrie’s other marker late in the second period.

“It felt good to finally get one,” Reed said after potting his first goal of the season.

“We got a couple of greasy ones there. You just have to keep throwing them on net. Hopefully something good happens, and it did.

“The boys are really gelling and working well together.”

The Bisons (8-2-1) took a 2-0 lead and looked to be in a good spot with star goaltender Devin Reagan boarding up the net at the other end.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said his squad stuck with the game plan despite scoring just once in the opening 53 minutes.

“Okotoks played a really good game,” Stamp said. “They were really structured early and definitely frustrated us,” Stamp said. “But we were committed to the process.

“We talked about it as a group, controlled our emotions and understood if we keep doing what we’re doing, eventually a bounce was going to go our way.”

McConnell’s league-leading 18th of the season tied the game with just over seven minutes to play before Plante-Crough notched the game-winner on a powerplay with 2:13 remaining.

“It’s a true testament to how strong these guys are mentally,” Stamp said. “We never really panicked.

“This will go a long way to show that if you stick with a game plan, even when there’s adversity, we can come through.”

Airdrie was outshot (42-38) for the first time this season but goaltender Ryan Simpson stood tall to improve to 5-0.

The Thunder hit the road on Saturday to take on the Lomond Lakers (3-4) in Claresholm (8:30 p.m.).




For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder

It will be a clash of the Titans


OCTOBER 18, 2018

Friday's heavyweight tilt between the Airdrie Techmation Thunder and the Okotoks Bisons will feature the top two teams in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
The Thunder (9-0) own the league's only perfect record while the Bisons will show up at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.) with an 8-1-1 mark, good for top spot in the Southern Division.
For the most part, the Thunder have relied on an over-powering offence to pummel teams into submission.
The Bisons, on the other hand, employ a stifling defence.
Okotoks goaltender Devin Reagan (5-2) has a 1.96 goals-against average and a pair of shutouts this season.
Thunder 'tender Ryan Simpson (4-0, 2.25) is up to the challenge at his end of the ice.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to facing Reagan again," Simpson said. "When I saw the game on the schedule, I was excited about potentially facing off against him."
The Thunder have scored more than any team in the league, piling up 7.7 goals per game. The Bisons rank second, lighting the lamp 5.5 times per outing.
But Okotoks surrenders an HJHL-best 1.5 goals per game, just ahead of Airdrie at 2.0.
Goals may be hard to come by for both squads but Simpson said he doesn't feel any extra pressure.
"Not really," he said. "I think if we, as a team, just focus on playing our game with a strong attention to details like Derek (Stamp, head coach) has been preaching all year, I really like our chances."
Stamp agrees, saying he has confidence in his squad.
"Okotoks has had a very strong start to the season and we do anticipate a close game," Stamp said. "We are confident in our group, our approach, and our game plan. 
"If we play the way we know we can, we will be able to create offensive chances."
Jordan McConnell leads the HJHL with 17 goals and 36 points with linemate Rylan Plante-Crough (15 goals, 31 points) close behind.
The next-closest scorer in Okotoks' Austin O'Bray with 10 markers and 16 points.




Thunder sweep weekend trio with 6-3 win

Out-manned? Yes.

Out-gunned? No chance.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder, with just a dozen skaters, doubled up the Wranglers 6-3 in Blackfalds on Sunday to sweep their three-games-in-three-days weekend.

Tristan Paquette took full advantage of the extra ice-time, scoring a hat-trick to lead the way offensively. 

“It was definitely a solid game for Tristan,” said Thunder head coach Derek Stamp. “He really stepped up and had a breakout offensively.”

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell had a goal and two helpers while Dane Bennett-Nimijean and Brett LeGrandeur also lit the lamp as the Thunder improved to 9-0 on the season.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out 24 pucks as Airdrie killed off eight of nine Blackfalds powerplays.

The Thunder, who also beat the Red Deer Vipers (4-0) and Medicine Hat Cubs (6-1) earlier in the weekend, will face another stiff test next Friday when they host the Okotoks Bisons (8-1-1) at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.


Thunder crush Cubs 6-1


OCTOBER 13, 2018

Two up, two down.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder won their second game in as many nights, dumping the Cubs 6-1 in Medicine Hat onSaturday night. 

League-leading scorers Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough finished with two goals and two assists apiece as Airdrie improved to 8-0 on the season.

“It was a good game,” said Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp. “We just stuck to the gameplan.

“There was nothing fancy. It was just a hard-working two points on the road.”

Affiliated player Logan Rutherford, with his first of the season, and Michal Wojciechowski rounded out the scoring. 

Ryan Simpson kicked out 24 pucks to pick up the win.

The Thunder will finish off their three-in-three weekend against the Wranglers in Blackfalds on Sunday (3:30 p.m.).



Thunder blank Vipers 4-0


October 13, 2018

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.

Well, this one was freezing.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder had to wait nearly seven months — 210 days, to be exact — to gain retribution against the Red Deer Vipers.

The defending HJHL champs knocked the Thunder out of the post-season in the sixth game of the Northern Division final last March.

On Friday night, the Thunder earned a bit of payback with a convincing 4-0 victory at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out all 26 shots that came his way as the Thunder, the only remaining perfect team in the HJHL, improved to 7-0 on the season.

The 18-year-old said his first HJHL shutout was a little extra-special because he could tell his teammates wanted to beat the Vipers badly.

“In the room before the game, the guys were talking about the rivalry and how they wanted to win,” Little said. “So there was that energy going into it.

“I felt confident. The puck was hitting me and the team was playing really well.

“In the end, they clamped it down and helped me out.”

The Thunder are accustomed to blowing teams out with the league’s most potent offence, but they relied more on their defensive prowess to beat the Vipers.

Jason Wenzel scored the eventual game-winner a minute shy of the game’s halfway point. Jordan McConnell, Rylan Plante-Crough and Brett Campbell added all the insurance Little would need.

Airdrie product Michael Dubois picked up an assist and was one of 10 Thunder players who all had one point in the victory.

“We started off a little slow but we came together after the first (period),” the veteran defenceman said.

“We lost to Red Deer the past couple years so it was nice to start off the year with a big win against them.”

The Thunder owned a 36-26 advantage on the shot clock and killed off all eight Vipers powerplays.

Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp was obviously pleased with what he saw Friday night.

“There’s obviously always high emotions any time we play against Red Deer,” Stamp said. “What we, as a coaching staff, liked the most was this hockey team responded to adversity — it didn’t react to adversity.

“In past years, that reaction has put us on the wrong side of the scoresheet.

“But this team showed it can respond to it properly and the result was a win.”

The Thunder will hit the road in search of two more wins before the weekend is over.

They’ll visit the Cubs in Medicine Hat on Saturday (7:45 p.m.) before taking on the Wranglers in Blackfalds on Sunday (3:30 p.m.)


For more information:
Derek Stamp
Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder

Thunder, Vipers rekindle rivalry


October 11, 2018

It’s been seven months.

But the wounds, for some, are still fresh.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder might have a little extra fuel in the tank Friday night (8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen Arena) when they host the Red Deer Vipers, the team that eliminated the Thunder in HJHL Northern Division final last March.

Forward Brett Campbell has had this date circled on his calendar since the season started.

“Yeah, this has been a game that I have been looking forward to for quite some time,” the veteran said. “It will be a hard, but exciting, game.”

Airdrie and Red Deer have met in the playoff in each of the past three springs, with the Vipers winning the last two matchups.

“The rivalry last year with them was fairly strong,” Campbell said. “With tem putting us out of the playoffs last year, it most definitely has grown the rivalry we seem to have with them.”

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp agreed, saying intense playoff clashes will certainly pour gas on a heated rivalry.

“I would say that there is a rivalry between the two teams, yes,” Stamp said. “We played some really great games against each other last season and battled hard in the division final.

“Both teams have seen some turnover in their rosters for this year but I am sure there is enough carry-over to keep the rivalry going.”

The Thunder come into Friday’s tilt with a perfect 6-0 record while the Vipers are 3-2.

Stamp expects a tighter game than most of the one-sided affairs his squad has been involved in this season, but doesn’t use any other club as a litmus test to see how the Thunder compare.

“Playing against the Vipers pushes us to be at our best and we expect a challenging game on Friday,” Stamp said.

“Is it a measuring stick to gauge where we fit? Not really,” Stamp said. “We know the type of team we can be and expect to be.

“We will continue to focus on the overall process. Individual games (like the one against Red Deer) will present different challenges throughout the year and we will work to make sure we are in a position to always be improving our overall game.”

Friday’s Northern Division final rematch isn’t the only game on the Thunder’s schedule.

They’ll also travel to Medicine Hat (Saturday, 7:45 p.m.) and Blackfalds (Sunday, 3:30 p.m.).

“Three-game weekends are something every team has to deal with in this league and they are a test in handling adversity,” Stamp said.

“We will approach each game the same and understand, going in, that our focus on structure and details will be an important factor in having a successful weekend.”


Thunder Thump Generals 12-4


The Airdrie Techmation Thunder spread the wealth on Thanksgiving weekend.

 Nine different players scored as the Thunder thumped the visiting Cochrane Generals 12-4 Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

Jordan McConnell continued his torrid scoring pace with two goals and six points while linemate Rylan Plante-Crough and Cooper Page had a pair of goals each.

Defenceman Jason Wenzel, just 2:35 into the game, and Jackson Gibson scored shorthanded goals as the Thunder improved to 6-0 on the season.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said he expected a tighter score.

“We had played Cochrane twice in the pre-season and both of those were fairly close games,” Stamp said. “They won one and we won one.

“But it’s hard to tell in pre-season what the final team is going to look like. 

“And they had only played one game before this one so it was really hard to have any kind of expectation.”

Dane Bennett-Nimijean, Zachary Dubois, Tristan Paquette and Michal Wojciechowski also lit the lamp for the Thunder, who owned a 47-38 advantage on the shot clock.

The Thunder will get a week off before returning home to face the defending HJHL champion Red Deer Vipers next Friday (8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen Arena).

“It was a busy week, so it will be good to have some rest,” Stamp said. “Especially because next weekend, we have three games in three nights.

“We’ll have a home game to start it off and then two road trips so that will be a challenge.”

 Airdrie will finish up the weekend with games in Medicine Hat (Saturday) and Blackfalds (Sunday).


Thunder overcome deficit to beat Colts 4-2


October 4, 2017


The scoreboard at the Didsbury Recreation Complex showed something no one on the Airdrie Thunder bench has seen this season

A deficit.

The Thunder trailed the Mountainview Colts 2-1 — the first time the Airdrie squad has been behind in 2018-19 — in the second period on Wednesday night.

But Brett Campbell squared the game near the midway point.

And then there was a familiar sight on the scoreboard — No. 8, otherwise known as Rylan Plante-Crough, who was named Heritage Junior Hockey League player of the week earlier Wednesday.

The Airdrie product scored twice in the final frame, including once into an empty net, to give the Thunder a 4-2 win.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said it was good for his team, which had out-scored its competition 37-8 in the first four games, to be in a tight contest.

“We handled the adversity and being in a close game really well,” Stamp said. “We were simple and structured in the third period and that was enough.

“Mountainview is always tough in their building so it was nice to come out of there with two points.”

Jordan McConnell had a goal and a pair of assists to keep pace with Plante-Crough atop the HJHL standings.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little won his third game of the season.

The Thunder will put their 5-0 record on the line on Friday against the visiting Cochrane Generals (0-1) at 8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

“We expect a good game from Cochrane,” Stamp said. “They always seem to play fast and we will have to be ready.”


Thunder sweep weekend home games to remain perfect at  4-0


September 30th, 2018

 Rylan Plante-Crough wasn’t going to let his linemate have all the fun.

After helping Jordan McConnell put up eight goals and 16 points in the first three games of the season, Plante-Crough decided to join the scoring party.

 The veteran forward scored a third-period hat trick on Saturday night as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder beat the High River Flyers 7-1.

“We’ve been battling it out for the scoring,” Plante-Crough said of the friendly competition with his linemate.

“I don’t think we really care. We’re clicking so that’s all that matters.”

The Thunder, who also dumped the Blackfalds Wranglers 7-2 on Friday, improved to 4-0 on the season.

 They’ve out-scored the competition 37-8 in those four games.

McConnell and Plante-Crough, who have 19 points apiece, are a big part of the reason why the Thunder have been blowing teams out.

But the 20-year-old said the chemistry wasn’t always obvious.

“I was kind of nervous because in pre-season, we were pretty slow,” Plante-Crough said.

“But as soon as the regular season came, we turned it around.”

McConnell had two goals and a helper while Dane Bennett-Nimijean and Tristan Paquette had a goal and an assist each to round out the scoring on Saturday

Thunder goaltender Ryan Simpson lost his shutout bid with 3:57 to play but said he wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

“I’m not going to worry about it,” Simpson said after kicking out 24 pucks to improve to 2-0 on the season.

“I felt good at the start and carried that through the rest of the game.”

 Simpson said his squad has made it easy for him by filling the net at the other end.

 “It’s really nice,” Simpson said. “We have no weaknesses.

 “I think our defensive core is really good and obviously our offence is taking care of itself.”

 The Thunder outshot High River 58-25.

 Airdrie visits the Mountainview Colts on Wednesday before returning home to face the Cochrane Generals on Friday (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


Thunder open homestand with convincing win


September 29th, 2018

Zachary Dubois showed up to camp looking to compete for a spot as a defenceman.

Airdrie Techmation Thunder coach Derek Stamp saw a different opportunity.

Dubois started the season on the club's top forward line and on Friday led the Thunder to a 7-2 win over the Blackfalds Wranglers on Friday.

We had balanced scoring,” Stamp said after the win. “ We had seven different scorers.”

Dubois, an Airdrie product, scored once and added a pair of assists as the Thunder improved to 3-0 on the season.

Rylan-Plante Crough and captain Jacob MacDonald gave the hosts a 2-1 lead after the opening period.

The Thunder took complete control in the middle frame as Tristan Paquette, Brett Campbell, Jason Wenzel and HJHL player-of-the-week Jordan McConnell lit the lamp to give the hosts a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Rookie Jackson Little kicked out 19 pucks for his second win of the year.

The Thunder, who held a 54-21 advantage on the shot clock, will put their 3-0 record on the line Saturday night when they host the High River Flyers on Saturday (7:15 p.m. At the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


McConnell tears it up on opening weekend


September 27, 2018

Fourteen points in two games.

Not too bad.

If you're playing street hockey ... against much younger kids ... who are using broken sticks.

But to pile up 14 points in a pair of Heritage Junior Hockey League games?

Airdrie Techmation Thunder forward Jordan McConnell is having a hard time explaining everything fell into place last weekend.

It's pretty crazy,” McConnell said. “I still can't believe how it happened.

I was looking back and our line didn't miss on any scoring opportunities.”

That's an understatement.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder opened the season with four goals and eight points as the Thunder routed the visiting Stettler Lightning 13-2. The following night, he picked up a hat-trick as part of a six-point night as the Thunder beat the Copperheads 10-3 in Coaldale.

McConnell was named the HJHL player of the week following his incredible debut.

Dante Raposo was the last Thunder player to earn player of the week honours on Oct. 17 of the 2017-18 season.

Current captain Jacob MacDonald also won the award on Sept. 26 of last season.

And the 20-year-old and linemates Rylan Plante-Crough (four goals and a dozen points in the two tilts) and Zach Dubois are just starting to gel.

Rylan is a good player, for sure,” McConnell said. “Zach actually tried out as a defenceman and coach put him up on our line to try him out as a forward.”

Whatever personal goals McConnell had for this season, he'll likely have to re-adjust the numbers after his monstrous weekend.

But there's one goal that will remain unchanged.

Obviously, I don't expect to keep that pace all year long,” McConnell said. “That's ridiculous.

But I'd like to get as many points as I can and the organization is looking for a championship this year.

That's the ultimate goal for everyone.”

McConnell and Co. hope to keep rolling this weekend with a pair of home dates.

The Thunder will host the Blackfalds Wranglers on Friday night (8 p.m.) before the High River Flyers pay a visit on Saturday (7:15 p.m.). Both games are at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

It's been awhile since McConnell has played a competitive game in his home rink.

The Airdrie product spent the past three seasons in the AJHL with the Drayton Valley Thunder and Calgary Canucks.

I thought it was time for me to start going to school,” said McConnell, who is studying business at the U of C. “I didn't see myself finding a Division I scholarship (in the NCAA).

So I thought it was time to move on from that dream and start my schooling.

It was a tough choice to leave but ultimately I think I made the right decision.”

And hey, polishing off a junior career at home on a team that appears ready to take a shot at the league title - nothing wrong with that.

Yeah, I'm with all my friends, at my home rink, everything like that.

I think we can go all the way with this team. I don't really see any weak spots in our lineup.

We've only played two games together so the more we practice and play together, the better we're going to get.”

That's a scary thought.



Thunder start season 2-0 with lopsided wins

September 24th, 2018

By Scott Fisher


When the Thunder rolls, get out of the way.

 The Airdrie Techmation Thunder out-gunned their opposition 23-4 on the opening weekend of Heritage Junior Hockey League action.

 The Thunder destroyed the Copperheads 10-3 in Coaldale on Saturday night to cap off an impressive opening weekend.

Veteran sniper Rylan Plante-Crough opened the night with a natural hat-trick and, as it turned out, that’s all the offence the Thunder would need as they moved to 2-0 on the season.

Jordan McConnell followed up a monstrous eight-point opening night - a 13-2 runaway over the visiting Stettler Lightning - with another hat-trick on Saturday.

Plante-Crough and McConnell each had a trio of assists on Saturday to finish with six-point nights.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp gave his squad full marks for Saturday’s road win.

“We played fast, structured and composed,” Stamp said after his club started 2-0 for the second consecutive season.

“And we made them pay on a five-minute powerplay to start the third period.”

The Thunder pounded four powerplay goals past the Copperheads ’tender early in the final frame to put the game on ice.

Thunder goaltender Ryan Simpson stood tall through yet another trying emotional situation.

Following the tragic death of his twin brother, Morgan, Ryan wore his sibling’s jersey during warm-ups during the 2018 playoffs.

Morgan, an Airdrie product, was a beloved member of the Copperheads following a stint with the HJHL’s Cochrane Generals.

Ryan kicked out 19 shots to record the victory in his first start of the season.

Rookie Brett Legrandeur, Jason Wenzel, Tyler McCarry and Kirkland Spencer also lit the lamp Saturday night

The Blackfalds Wranglers will visit the Thunder Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

The High River Flyers visit on Saturday (7:15 p.m.).



Thunder crush Lightning in season opener

September 20th 2018

By Scott Fisher

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder kicked off their 2018-19 season with a bang Friday night.

Jordan McConnell scored four times and finished with eight points and captain Jacob MacDonald had a hat-trick as the Thunder pounded the Stettler Lightning 13-2 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

Veteran Rylan Plante-Crough had a goal as part of a six-point night and newcomer Cooper Page light the lamp once and had five points in the blowout victory.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp was obviously pleased with the offensive explosion against the short-staffed Lightning but said cautioned that his club still has some work to do 

“We got up early and they only had 10 skaters,” Stamp said. “The struggle then became about us trying to make sure we maintained our details and didn’t fall into bad habits.”

Zachary Dubois opened the scoring 2:10 into the game with his first of two markers on the night and McConnell netted his first 22 seconds later to kick-start the home side, which outshot Stettler 70-26.

Benjamin Orde and Brett Legrandeur also lit the lamp for the Thunder, who led 5-1 after the first period and 9-2 after 40 minutes.

“We did a lot of things well, especially offensively,” Stamp said. “But there was a lot of sloppiness, especially in the defensive zone.

“It’s nice to get some flow going and it was an opportunity to give our young guys a lot of ice time. They played in a lot of situations and got a feel for what this league is all about.”

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out 24 pucks to pick up his first Heritage Junior Hockey League win.

The Thunder, who went 3-for-4 on the powerplay, travel to Coaldale to play the Copperheads Saturday night.





Thunder - Home opener story

September 20th 2018

By Scott Fisher

It’s shaping up to be quite a storm.

Then again, whenever you get Thunder and Lightning together, that’s usually the outcome.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are set to kick off the Heritage Jr. Hockey League season on Friday night.

The Thunder will welcome the Stettler Lightning to the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp is excited to get things started after his club went 2-2 in the pre-season.

“We feel really positive about the roster we have put together,” Stamp said. “We have a great mix of size, speed, and skill as well as some great attitudes and a much stronger attention to detail.”

The Thunder went 23-9-4 last season and will look to improve on their 50-point campaign, which was good for second in the Northern Division.

The Lightning (16-17-3) ended up fifth in the division last season.

Veteran goaltender Ryan Simpson will be joined by rookie Jackson Little to solidify Airdrie’s crease.

“Both Simpson and Little had good pre-seasons and we are excited to see what they can do in the regular season,” Stamps said.

There are only five returning faces, including captain Jacob MacDonald, from the opening-night roster from a year ago.

Rookie Brett LeGranduer and veteran Cooper Page are just two new players worth keeping an eye on.

“Brett LeGranduer is an Airdrie kid, played Midget AAA for the Bisons last year,” Stamp said. “He is very talented and we expect him to have a real impact this year.

“Cooper was part of a championship team (Kimberley Dynamiters) in the KIJHL last season and brings with him an understanding of what it takes to win, both on and off the ice.”

The Thunder hit the road on Saturday for a date with the Coaldale Copperheads (8:30 p.m.).




Thunder name Jacob MacDonald captain for 2018-19 season

August 20, 2018

Jacob MacDonald will wear the ‘C’.

The veteran winger was named captain by Airdrie Techmation Thunder head coach Derek Stamp.

Stamp said MacDonald was an easy choice to lead the Thunder during the Heritage Junior Hockey League 2018-19 campaign.

“He was such a good player last year,” Stamp said. “He really bought into what we were asking our players to do.

“I think that was evident on the ice in the numbers he was able to put up and the responsibility he took on in all three zones.

“Just being able to execute those values made him an easy choice.”

MacDonald put up 21 goals and 42 points in 34 regular-season tilts in 2017-18 following a 24-point rookie campaign.

He will take over for out-going captain Clay Murray, who graduated from the junior ranks at the conclusion of last spring’s playoffs.

MacDonald is familiar with both the veteran core and some of the new faces the team will add this fall when evaluation camp kicks off on Monday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).

“He covers both the group that was here prior and the new guys coming in,” Stamp said.

“And his leadership skills made him an easy choice.”

MacDonald is a product of the Airdrie Minor Hockey system, playing with the Bantam and Midget Lightning.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder said having the ‘C’ stitched on his chest is something special.

“It’s really humbling,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait to start the season.

“I feel really honoured." 

The Thunder will be looking to build on a successful ’17-18 season that saw the team finish with a 23-9-4 record.

“I think we’ll do better league-wise,” MacDonald said. “There are a lot of teams that are losing good guys. I don’t know if we’ll be a way better team but we’ll be on par with last year.

Stamp said he expects the U of C student, who is heading into his third year in the chemical engineering program, to lead by example.

“He doesn’t go out of his way to talk when he doesn’t necessarily need to,” Stamp said. “When something has to be said, he’ll say it.

“For the most part, it’s the day-in, day-out details both on and off the ice, showing up to practices and games, being ready and prepared.

“It’ll be great for our other players to be able to follow that and see, that by him doing these things, it led to the progression he’s made in this league to become the player he is.

“It will show these guys the way they need to play to be successful in this league.”





For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder




Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 175 lb.

Birth: Aug. 18, 1998

Number: 18


            GP       G         A         Pt         PIM

2015-16           1          1          2          3          0

2016-17           35        8          16        24        50

2017-18           34        21        21        42        14

Career 70        30        39        69        64


By Scott Fisher


The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are ready to hit the ice.

The Heritage Junior Hockey League club will be looking to build on a successful 2017-18 campaign when it holds an evaluation camp beginning with registration on Monday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp expects a healthy turnout at this year’s camp.

“Registration just opened so we don’t have any confirmed numbers yet,” Stamp said. “We expect to have a good turnout based on conversations with players throughout the summer, confirmed returning players, and general interest from players that graduated  from Minor Hockey last season.”

Camp consists of four try-out sessions and five pre-season games.

“The format will be a combination of high pace drills and small area games for the four tryout sessions,” Stamp said. “With five exhibition games scheduled against other HJHL teams, we will have a great opportunity to evaluate players in game situations as well.”

The Thunder finished with a 23-9-4 record last season, falling to the eventual HJHL champion Red Deer Vipers in the North Division final.

Stamp could have as many as a dozen returning players from that team but said he expects to identify new talent at camp and throughout the pre-season.

“This is our main camp and we will use it to evaluate everyone,” Stamp said. “We are serious about competing at the highest level and always looking to improve our roster. We will have 10-12 veterans from last years team at camp along with some very talented players that played junior in other leagues last season.

“And we’ll have some rookies that we expect to push hard for a roster spot.”

The HJHL provides high-level players an opportunity to balance hockey with busy school or work schedules.

“We offer a very balanced season for the players with two set practice days and times per week, a consistent schedule for all home games, one per week, and confirmed away games, typically one per week,” Stamp said. “We provide this information up front to allow our players the ability to plan their schedules accordingly.

“We are flexible (with the proper advance notice) on player absences due to exams and projects.

“Our mandate is to develop these players both on and off the ice.

“Life is busy and we try to teach our players how to properly schedule things while understanding accountability for absences.”

On-ice sessions begin on Tuesday, Sept. 4 (8:30 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen) with the first pre-season game slated for Friday, Sept. 7, against the visiting Three Hills Thrashers (8 p.m.).

The camp costs $200, which will be put towards the player’s annual fees if he is selected for the final roster.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Derek Stamp at



Monday, Sept. 3: Registration, 5:00 p.m.  at Ron Ebbesen

Tuesday, Sept. 4: Try-Out, 8:30 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Thursday, Sept. 6: Try-Out, 9:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Friday, Sept. 7: Pre-Season Game (vs. Three Hills), 8:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Sunday, Sept. 9: Pre-Season Game (vs. Okotoks), 7 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Tuesday, Sept. 11: Try-Out, 8:45 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Thursday, Sept. 13: Try-Out, 8:45 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Friday, Sept. 14: Pre-Season Game (vs. Cochrane), 8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Sunday, Sept. 15: Pre-Season Game (at Cochrane), 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 18: Pre-Season Game (at Blackfalds), 7:30 p.m.

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