Junior hockey: Patrick Last sends Twin City Thunder into the NCDC North final

Mar. 19—The Twin City Thunder and the Northern Cyclones didn't back down to each other in their deciding Game 3 matchup of the USPHL NCDC North semifinal series.

The teams traded goals in regulation, but the Thunder's Patrick Last sent Twin City to the NCDC North final with a goal early in overtime for a 4-3 victory at Cyclones Arena in Hudson, New Hampshire.

It was Last's first goal of the postseason, and Nolan Leonard had the lone assist.

"Leonard was on a breakaway in overtime and the goalie made a save; he was out of the net and Patrick Last put it in the back of the net," Thunder coach Dan Hodge said. "It was a great individual effort by both guys."

Hodge added that the goal wouldn't have happened if Thunder goalie Trey Miller didn't make a few saves before the game-winner.

"He made some huge saves. He was fantastic today, and came up big (Saturday in the Game 2 win)," Hodge said. "They had some opportunities early on in the overtime and he was there to answer the bell."

Twin City awaits the winner of the South Shore Kings-New Hampshire Junior Monarchs series. Game 3 of that series is Sunday night at 7 p.m. Whoever the Thunder face, it will be a best-of-three series starting later this week.

Hunter Fairman scored just past the four-minute mark of the first period, giving the Cyclones a 1-0 lead. Zach Vandale and Sean Conlon had the assists.

Leonard scored late in the first period, tying the game at 1-1 for the Thunder. Forward Richard Davis and defenseman Cullen McCormick set the tally up.

Davis's afternoon ended in the second period when he got called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing midway through the second period.

The Cyclones took advantage of the extended power play when Michael Felsing scored for the second time in the series 13:10 into the middle stanza. It was the lone goal on Davis's major penalty.

Hodge was pleased the Thunder only allowed one goal during Davis's penalty.

"They can score as many as they can on a five-minute major," Hodge said. "We did a great job killing penalties. Blake Tierney was a workhorse on the five-minute (major), playing probably three-and-half of the five, blocking shots, getting the pucks down the ice. The (defense) played well and rallied around each other and got it done."

Soon after the Thunder got back to even strength, Trace Norwell beat Cyclones goalie Colin Ronan to tie the game 2-2 at the 15:22 mark of the second period. Ben Portner and Tristan Rand had the assists.

In the third period, Anthony Dalessio put the Cyclones back on top as his shot beat Miller at the 3:43 mark.

Matthew Cole helped send the game to overtime when he scored a power-play tally near the midway point of the third period, tying the contest 3-3. Portner and McCormick had the assists.

Cole's shot found its way through bodies on its way to the net.

"He fed it through traffic and got us back tied," Hodge said.

Hodge credits both McCormick and Portner for getting the puck to Cole.

The Thunder were 1 for 2 on the man-advantage. The Cyclones were 1 for 4 on their power-play opportunities.

Hodge said the players are excited to have their season continue.

"They have embraced each other, and we have had some teams that have been talented, but I think this is the deepest team we've had in my (four) years here watching these guys," Hodge said. "Anybody, any night, can score a goal."