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Thunder jumps into North Division's top spot

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder is on a roll.

The junior B hockey team has won its four most recent games, vaulting it into the top spot of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s (HJHL) North Division standings with an 8-3-0 record.

The Thunder enjoyed a 5-0 shutout against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings Oct. 25, and an 8-5 win over the Red Deer Vipers the following night. Tyler Petrie was Airdrie’s star player, registering four goals and a pair of assists during the two contests.

“We’ve seen, over the last four or five games, that it’s starting to come together – all three elements of the game and all three zones,” said head coach Derek Stamp after the shutout win over Strathmore.

It was one-way traffic at the Ron Ebbesen Arena throughout the 60 minutes, as the Thunder put five unanswered shots into Strathmore’s net. Petrie and Tristan Paquette scored, while Dane Bennett-Nimijian and Kyle Bracko – a former Strathmore player – also found the net. Carson McGinnis rounded out the Thunder’s scoring in the third period.

At the other end of the ice, second-year goaltender Jackson Little enjoyed his first shutout of the regular season.

“I thought it was one of our more solid performances of the year, and hopefully we can keep it going,” said the 19-year-old goaltender. “It’s taken a bit of time to blend as a team and find our chemistry, but I think we’re finding it now.”

The Thunder maintained the positive play the next night against Red Deer, with Petrie scoring a hat trick en route to the team’s fourth consecutive victory.

While a winning streak is always a team effort, Stamp acknowledged the Thunder has been buoyed in recent weeks by the return of 21-year-old forward Jordan McConnell – Airdrie’s captain and the team’s star player from last year’s championship-winning season.

“He takes a lot on, carries a lot of the weight, generates a lot offensively and plays a lot defensively,” Stamp said. “It helps, having him back – it gets the team more focused and going in the right direction.”

The Thunder’s next four outings will be on the road, against the Ponoka Stampeders, Sylvan Lake Wranglers, Rocky Rams and Okotoks Bisons. Airdrie will return to the Ron Ebbesen Arena Nov. 15 for a battle with the Stampeders.



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Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, sports/RCMP reporter
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