The Thunder AAA Hockey Club announced that the Major Bantam and U16 National teams will be competing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in April for the National Championship.
The Thunder Bantams dominated in the Southeastern Districts, as they won all three games, while outscoring opponents 21-6. In the championship game, they put on a dominating performance and defeated the Washington Little Capitals, 9-1. Overall, the Thunder has won five games in a row and finished the season with a 39-14-2 record.
"Our boys came to play today and we finished our chances.
" We have two great goaltenders, defense that can shut down and contribute offensively and forwards that can create scoring opportunities. We are excited to get to Pittsburgh and I am so proud of this team, our coaching, management staff and parent group. We have had some players on this team battle through some tough years as peewee’s with respect to wins and losses, but choose to stick with the "marathon" and the benefits of long term development through the Thunder model. Today those players and their teammates were rewarded and I am so happy for all of our players" said Head Coach Keith Rowe.
The U16 National Team advanced to the National Championships by defeating the Washington Little Capitals in the final game 3-2 after going undefeated in round robin play. Ranked 9th in the country according to myhockeyrankings.com the team will now prepare for Pittsburgh. "We are very happy for the players and their families. Our guys give up a lot, sacrifice social opportunities and live a life that the average teenager cannot relate to. What our players give up, the travel and training that they get with the Thunder program is preparing them for success in junior hockey. They are incredibly committed, have to manage their time with school and hockey and today they were rewarded. We have had one goal in our sights all season long and today was another step toward that goal. Our best hockey is still ahead of us" said Head Coach Paul Flache.
With these two wins, the Thunder AAA Hockey Club now holds 8 Southeast District Championship titles in nine years of competition.
This past season saw three teams in the Thunder program ranked in the top 20 nationally, while competing in the Tier I Elite League and the SuperSeries.
In addition to winning Districts, the club also won several other tournaments including the USHL Showcase and the Music City Invitational.
On offense, the squad is led by Youth1 Hockey Player of the Year Nominee, Kyle Kawamura. The centerman has been extraordinary all season earning 94 points on 54 goals and 40 assists. Other standouts include Kyle Moore (43 goals, 45 assists), Jake Walker (23 goals, 53 assists), David Cohen (30 goals, 36 assists) and Bradley Ingersoll (17 goals, 40 assists).
Voting for the Youthee Award is still going on until May 29th and to vote you must log on the Youth1 hockey website and click on the Youthee tile.
On defensive, the club is led by Paul Raby (12 goals, 17 assists), Henry Koch (9 goals, 18 assists), Jesse Purdy (6 goals, 15 assists) and Miles Evans (20 assists). The able group kept opponents out maneuvered and out of the zone all season long. CJ Boothe and Owen Zdunski split time in between the pipes and both have been simply superb.
Many feel that if the Thunder is going to make a serious run for the championship, they’ll need to play as a team in all three zones.
The Thunder organization and many of the parents feel entire squad is capable offensively and defensively.