Junior hockey: Special teams helps Twin City Thunder defeat New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs

Mar. 1—AUBURN — The Twin City Thunder are continuing to play well down the final stretch of the regular season.

On Wednesday, the Thunder took down the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, the second-place team in the NCDC North Division, 6-3 at Norway Savings Bank Arena. The Thunder are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games.

It didn't take long for the Thunder (22-20-4, 48 points) to get on the board when Tommy Gannon's backhanded shot from the slot beat Jr. Monarchs goalie Oliver Drum (24 saves) 13 seconds into the game. Patrick Last had the assist.

"We started off (13) seconds scoring into the game," Thunder coach Dan Hodge said. "I thought we started off fast and turned on the gas pedal."

The line of Gannon, Last and Liam Hodgson nearly created another goal when the puck deflected off Last but just went wide of the net late in the first period.

New Hampshire (25-16-6, 56 points) tied the game with under two minutes remaining in the first period when Will Murphy's slap shot beat Thunder goalie Trey Miller (35 saves).

"We started to put a lot of pucks on net. The goalie was making some big saves early on," Monarchs coach Clint Edinger said. "Unfortunately, if you don't play 60 minutes, the league has that much parity."

Dom Chasse gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead on the power play early in the second period when his shot went over Drum's shoulder. Nick Pomerleau had the assist.

"Honestly, it was a great pass from Nick Pomerleau," Chasse said. "He saw me open, and I turned and shot it. It was a really good play by him."

Former Maine Nordiques Academy player Chris Repmann evened the game 2-2 for the Jr. Monarchs midway through the second period.

Last responded 14:26 into the middle frame when he created a turnover in the neutral zone while shorthanded and slid his shot past Drum. James Tatro and Blake Tierney had the helpers.

"James Tatro made a great play getting the puck out of our zone and they had two guys try to sandwich him. That left me open to pick up the puck," Last said. "I made a nice move on the goalie, and I just put it in there."

Edinger said that goal turned the tide.

"Our entry wasn't clean. Getting in (the offensive zone) with control, we tried to stick-handle by everybody, and turnovers will kill you," Edinger said.

Twin City got its third special teams goal of the second period when Richard Davis ripped a shot by Drum 16:10 into the middle frame. Hodgson and Trace Norwell had the assists.

The Thunder were 2 for 3 on the power play, while the Monarchs were 0 for 1.

"The power play worked today, and we did a good job killing their power play," Hodge said. "It was a good team effort."

Chasse capped the wild second period with his second tally of the frame in the final minute, increasing the advantage to 5-2. Tatro recorded another assist.

The score remained the same until late in the third period when the Monarchs' Jake Alpine scored with the goalie pulled, but the Thunder responded with an empty-net goal by Ben Portner with 15 seconds left.

"That last goal, Pat Last sprinted down to negate the icing and Liam came to get the puck and hit Portner in the middle of the ice," Hodge said. "It was a great individual effort by Pat."

The teams meet again Thursday at the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, New Hampshire, at 1 p.m.