Thunderbirds storm through Raiders

After scoring the opening goal early in the first period of its game against U-32 on Wednesday, the Missisquoi boys hockey team dominated the rest of the opening frame, but couldn’t find the elusive second goal.

Despite outshooting the Raiders 21-5 in the first period, the Thunderbirds only led by one.

Things changed quickly in the second period, as they tallied four goals to break things open to come away with a 7-1 victory.

“I knew in the first period, we were doing all the small things right,” said Missisquoi coach Chris Hatin. “We were moving the puck quickly, we were getting shots on net, but it just wasn’t going in for us, so that was the message in between the first and the second was to stay in our game and keep putting it to them and put pucks to the net and they started coming from there.

Ethan Messier got things started just a minute into the game on a nice wrist shot to give the Thunderbirds the early 1-0 lead with the assist going to Hunter Mason (three assists). They had plenty of chances to make it a two-goal game, but had a number of shots miss the net and U-32 goalie Duncan Mathies made a number of nice saves.

Messier finally got Missisquoi its second goal of the game five minutes into the second period. From there, it was all Thunderbirds as Jake Benjamin (assisted by Mason and Jackson Porter), Porter (assisted by Benjamin) and Carter Letourneau (assisted by Mason) also scored in the second frame to give the Thunderbirds the 5-0 lead.

“If you watched our game against Milton this past week, you saw we were gripping the sticks too hard and were trying to be a one-man show type of team and take the puck end-to-end,” said Hatin. “We really focused this week to make those simple passes and don’t let yourself get picked up, and I thought we did a nice job of that tonight.”

U-32 scored its only goal late in the second period when the game was all but put away.

Keegan Zier scored early in the third on an assist by Letourneau and Isaac Overton scored his first career goal shorthanded with just over a minute to go in the game. Messier had the assist on Overton’s goal.

“We had a full-court press on getting Isaac a goal today,” said Hatin. “We put some of our first and second-liners on the ice in the third even though we didn’t want to with the goal being we wanted to open things up for him and fed him out there and he got it.”

PJ Bouchard played the first two periods in net for the Thunderbirds and finished with 13 saves. Garrett Fregeau played the third period in between the pipes and finished with six saves.

It was another stellar performance for the Thunderbirds, who improved to 4-0 on the season and will look to keep things going on Saturday when they host Lyndon.

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