This past weekend in Blaine Minnesota, the U16 National team showed up ready to compete at the first league playoff championships. After an outstanding regular season in which they won their division and finished 3rd overall, the 9th nationally ranked team in the country finished second. At one point the team had a streak of 20 wins and 1 tie in 21 consecutive games demonstrating a high level of team synergy. Going 2 and 1 in pool play, the team advanced to the semi-finals where they met the Pittsburgh Junior Penguins and edged them with a 2-1 win. Facing the St. Louis Junior Blues in the finals, the team fell short losing 3-0.
"I am extremely proud of this group, it's been a great run and I believe our last game will serve as great motivation for us going into the playoffs" stated head coach Paul Flache. "This is an exceptional league, it does not matter who you play, if you don't show up to play its going to be tough to win. Our kids were rewarded with consistency, they have learned to battle from behind for wins and the bottom line is we believe in each other and that is a powerful thing!"
"This team has raised the bar for our younger teams coming up thru the program" commented Thunder Peewee/Bantam Director Keith Rowe. "It's been awesome to watch many of these players develop in the Thunder program over the past few years and they have earned everything this season. The parent group has been very positive, which helps create a positive environment, while Paul and Rick have done an outstanding job leading these young men" finished Rowe.
The Thunder AAA Hockey Club completed its second consecutive season in the only national AAA hockey league in the country. The Tier I Elite Hockey League features some of the top competition in the country, while providing showcase opportunities for players in front of Junior, College and Professional scouts, recruiters and coaches.
This past weekend in Blaine over 100 recruiters, scouts and coaches checked in with league officials to watch the teams compete and evaluate future prospects. The Thunder U16 National team currently holds an overall record of 33-10-1 and finished with a regular season record of 31-7-1-1 a new record for the program.
Mitch Fossier is leading the U16 National Team in scoring. Fossier currently leads the team with 39 goals and 37 assists for 76 points in just 52 games, Fossier finished 8th overall during the regular season in the Tier I Elite League with 32 goals and 39 assists for 61 points in 40 games.
Teammates Austin Beaulieu and Nathan Krusko finished tied for 24th in the Tier I Elite League scoring race. Beaulieu posted 16 goals and 27 assists averaging just over a point per game in 40 contests. Beaulieu currently is second on the team in scoring with 20 goals and 34 assists for 54 points in 52 games.
Nathan Krusko had 20 goals and 24 assists in 37 games during Tier I Elite League competition, while posting 3 powerplay goals and 4 power play assists, while adding 4 game winning goals. Krusko currently is 3rd on the team overall in scoring with 23 goals and 23 assists in 43 games.
Thunder Hockey offers student athletes access to full time professional hockey coaches that work closely within the guidelines laid out by USA Hockey through the American Development Model (ADM). All of this is done in an effort to develop student/athletes for opportunities in hockey, the classroom and life. Thunder alumni have been drafted to and/or are playing in the NHL, NCAA, USHL, NAHL, EJHL, and the OHL.