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Thunder Bantam Boys, Ice Storm 16U girls cruise to second wins at Nationals

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The St. Lawrence Thunder Bantam Boys and Potsdam Ice Storm 16U Girls both clinched a spot in the quarter-final round of their USA Hockey Tier II National Championship Tournaments with high-scoring wins on Thursday while the Thunder 14U girls kept their second-round hopes alive by bouncing back to notch their first victory.

With their wins, the Thunder Bantams and Ice Storm moved to the top of their divisions heading into their preliminary round finales slated for later today.

Thunder 13, Montgomery 1: At the 14U Tier II Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina, the teams traded early goals before the Thunder, who pulled out a last-minute win in their opening game, closed out the first period with three straight goals the put the game out of reach with a six-goal barrage in the second period.

Wyatt Wilmshurst got the locals off to a fast start when he connected for an unassisted goal just 40 seconds into the game but the Blue Devils countered 32 seconds later on a goal by Matthew Park.

Ben Sprague put the Thunder back on top at the 5:57 mark when he finished off a play set up by Bailey Conklin before Wilmshurst struck for back-to-back goals just over a minute apart in the final 1:26 of the first period to push the lead to 4-1 heading into the middle frame.

The momentum of the late goals carried right over into the second period when Robert struck just 11 seconds in. The Thunder then put the game out of reach with five more goals over the final 7:08 of the period.

Wilmshurst finished with four goals and an assist while Robert tallied another five points on a goal and four helpers to anchor the winning effort. Kaden Pickering generated another two goals and two assists. Sprague fashioned a pair of assists to go along with his goal, which held up as the game-winner. Samuel Woods also scored twice. Turner Thomas and Conklin each logged a goal and assist. Nate Bressard accounted for the other goal. Shane Cryderman notched two assists while Riley Clark and Andrew McCormick each recorded solo helpers.

Jarrad Jackson handled the other 14 shots he faced to backstop the win while Matthew Park posted 35 saves in the losing cause.

Coached by Bobby Smith, the Thunder will now set their sights on clinching the top seed from their division when the go up against the Denver University Junior Pioneers this morning starting at 8 a.m. The Pioneers are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Predators after having opened with a win over Montgomery.

The top two teams from each of the four divisions competing in the field with the Thunder advance to the quarter-finals slated for Saturday morning.

Ice Storm 9, Princeton 1: In San Jose, California, the Ice Storm relayed a quick scoring burst late in the first period into their second convincing win in as many games at their Tier II tournament.

The line of Kirstin Barkley, Kalie Grant and Ally Miller sparked the victory when it combined to score three goals in a span of just 26 seconds in the 12th minute of the game.

Miller broke through for an unassisted goal at the 11:01 mark. Thirteen seconds later, Miller combined with Barkley to set up Grant with what would stand as the game-winner. Barkley then capped the decisive outburst by converting off an assist from Miller just 13 seconds after that.

The Ice Storm pushed their lead to 4-0 with 1:00 left in the opening frame when Natalie Giglio connected from Jenny Tardelli.

Miller scored the lone goal of the second period off an assist from Barkley at the 13:53 mark and Giglio made it 6-0 with her second of the game 2:38 into the third before the Tiger Lillies got on the board when Carlie Smythe notched a power play goal with 7:15 left in regulation.

The Ice Storm countered with a shorthanded goal by Miller, a power play goal by Kelsey Green and the final goal of the game by Grant with 1:26 left in regulation.

Miller finished with three goals and three assists while Grant and Giglio each contributed two goals and an assist and Barkley tallied a goal and two helpers.

Allie Compeau recorded eight saves working the crease for the win while Kendall Smythe turned aside 22 shots in the loss.

The Ice Storm, guided by Mike Grant, enter their final game of the preliminary round against the Grand Rapids Griffins today at 6:30 p.m. EDT with a chance to clinch the top seed from their division. The Griffins slipped to 1-1 in the standings after dropping a 5-2 decision to the San Jose Junior Sharks, who are tied for points with the Thunder but trail in the goal differential.

The top four teams in each of the two round-robin divisions advance to Saturday morning’s quarter-finals.

Thunder 2, New Jersey 0: At the Tier II 14U championships also being staged in San Jose, the Thunder netted solo goals in each of the first two periods then

Jordan Emerson opened the scoring when she connected off an assist from Katie MacCuaig at 9:25 of the first period. MacCuaig made it 2-0 at 10:03 of the second by finishing off a play set up by Raechel Davis and Molly O’Donnell.

Sidney Molnar stopped the 10 shots she faced working the crease for the shutout while Abigail Levy made 25 saves in the losing effort.

The Thunder girls, guided by Renee Young, will now look to move up the division standings and into contention for a quarter-final round bid later today when they close out their preliminary round starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT against the Nashua Panthers, who improved to 2-0 atop the standings with a 7-1 win over the San Jose Junior Sharks.

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