Generals blank Thunder
September 22, 2019
There will be no lengthy season-opening winning streak this year.
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder won their first 18 games during a magical 2018-19 season.
But their first taste of defeat came in Game 2 in 2019-20.
Erik Garber kicked out all 29 shots that came his way as the Cochrane Generals blanked the Thunder 5-0 on Saturday.
The Generals peppered Airdrie starter Justin Fedoruk with 46 shots.
"Both goalies played great," Thunder head coach Derek Stamps said. "Feds was solid in our net, made some big saves and probably deserved a better stat line.
"Cochrane had a very specific game plan, playing at home on a smaller ice surface, and they really executed well."
Patrick Forde, Jordan Fisher, Cade Chudleigh, Takura Okada and Brandon Aab scored for the Generals, who handed the Thunder their first shutout loss in 57 games.
"It was a great learning experience for our players," Stamp said. "The young guys saw how quick and physical things can get.
"We are looking forward to getting back to practice this week, continue soildifying our details, and start preparing for Friday."
The Thunder (1-1) will host the Sylvan Lake Wranglers next Friday (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).
Thunder edge Cubs in season-opener
September 21, 2019
There's nothing like a championship banner to provide a little motivation.
Veteran Airdrie Thunder centre Tristan Paquette said he was going to be pumped up to see the HJHL and provincial championship banners in the rafters of the Ron Ebbesen Arena.
He wasn't kidding.
Paquette scored the game-winner with 2:03 to play in regulation time and assisted on Kirkland Spencer's first period marker as the Thunder held off the Medicine Hat Cubs 3-1 on the HJHL's opening night.
Kyle Bracko added an empty-netter in the final minute while Mackenzie Fritzler scored the visitors' lone tally.
Spencer's early marker looked as though it might hold up as the game's only goal as it was still 1-0 at the midway point of the third period.
"I got a nice face-off win from (Paquette), the puck flipped up and I just put it on net," Spencer said of the floater that found the back of the net.
"The guys did a good job of getting in front and making sure (Cubs goaltender Brett Vanderveer) couldn't see it."
Thunder goaltender Jackson Little had a perfect night going until Fritzler tied the game on the powerplay with 6:33 on the clock, setting the stage for Paquette's heroics.
"That was big," Spencer said. "He made a nice move on that one and he had a great game."
Airdrie outshot the visitors 39-28.
In other HJHL action on opening night, the Mountainview Colts beat the Stettler Lightning 6-3 and the Okotoks Bisons dumped the High River Flyers 6-1.
On Saturday, the Thunder visit the Cochrane Generals (7:30 p.m.)and the Colts are in Coaldale to take on the defending South Division champion Copperheads.
Thunder to raise championship banners
September 20, 2019
Everyone likes a party.
Especially when you're the guest of honour.
The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are throwing an extra-special season-opening bash on Friday night.
Sure, they'll kick off the HJHL season against the visiting Medicine Hat Cubs (8 p.m., Ron Ebbesen Arena).
But before that, they'll celebrate the fruits of their labour from a year ago by raising league and provincial championship banners to the rafters.
Centre Tristan Paquette, who had 56 points in 35 games as the Thunder rolled to the HJHL title after a 35-3 regular season, says he's looking forward to the ceremony.
"I think seeing the banners being raised will be a pretty special moment for all of us," Paquette says. "Everyone that was able to be a part of last years incredible team knows how special it was and for the new guys this year, they will be able to see how special this organization is and what we could do again this year."
After winning the HJHL crown, the Thunder went 5-0 at the provincial tournament, winning the championship in an overtime thriller.
Paquette will centre one the league's most lethal trios this season with HJHL record-setting winger Jordan McConnell on one side and fellow former Jr A player Tyler Petrie on the other.
"I'm really looking forward to having that chance to work with them and lead the way offensively this year for the team," the 6-foot, 195-pounder says.
"The team looks great, a lot of new and younger faces this season but I’m super impressed with how hard these guys work and how much they care.
"Really good group of veterans coming back as well which will make things a bit easier for the new guys, so overall from top to bottom the teams looking ready to go."