MARINETTE – The M&M Thunder Peewee team scored three goals in the final three minutes of the Battle at the REC championship game to top Marquette for the tournament title this weekend. Meanwhile the Thunder High School team took a pair of wins in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The Thunder Peewees hosted teams from Marquette, Houghton, Waupaca, Beaver Dam and Sheboygan and went 4-0 on their way to winning the Battle at the REC this weekend.
The action started on Friday with a thrilling contest against Marquette McDonald’s that came down to a shootout.
Chuckie Bird got the scoring started before Collin Campbell took the reins of the offense. Campbell scored the next six Thunder goals to give his team a 7-6 lead with six minutes to play.
Marquette tied the game on a power play two minutes later, and the game remained tied through regulation and a five-minute overtime period.
The game moved to a shootout, and Bird and Campbell delivered goals on their attempts while Jack Aftanas stopped two out of three Marquette shots.
Aftanas finished the game with 39 saves against 46 shots
On Saturday, the Thunder defeated Sheboygan 4-0 and Waupaca 6-4 to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
Against Sheboygan, Campbell netted three goals and assisted a strike from Connor Eastman.
Aftanas recorded a shutout by stopping all 18 shots from the Lakers.
Campbell (4) and Bird (2) scored all six Thunder goals against Waupaca while Eastman and Bird had assists and Aftanas came up with 26 saves.
That win setup a showdown with Marquette Econo on Sunday.
Campbell staked the Thunder to a 3-0 lead, but Marquette scored two goals in the final minute of the first period including a buzzer-beater from Mason Nygard to claw back into the game.
After Marquette tied the game early in the second, Campbell put the Thunder back on top, but Nygard scored again to send the game to the final period level at 4-4.
Marquette’s Carter Tonella scored early in the third to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game.
That lead stood until the clock read 2:50 and Campbell knocked in his fifth goal of the contest.
Just 42 seconds later, Campbell assisted a go-ahead goal from Bird, and Bryce Vincent gave the Thunder some breathing room at 7-5 when he scored off assists from Michael O’Conner and Bird with 1:31 to play.
The Wildcats outshot the Thunder 34-20, but Aftanas came up with 29 saves to secure the title.
In four tournament games, Campbell racked up 18 goals and two assists. Bird found the net four times and assisted two other goals.
Aftanas stopped 88% of the shots he faced while averaging 28 saves per game.
The Peewees improved to 10-10-2 on the season and will return to play on Saturday when they host Green Bay.
The Thunder High School team swept a doubleheader at Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday, winning with scores of 7-5 and 5-2. The team then dropped a pair of contests at Marquette on Sunday.
“Three out of four games this weekend we played really well,” coach John Danielak said. “That’s what we want as we keep marching toward state. Keep putting together good games and getting better and better.
“Saturday was a hard battle, but we came out with two wins,” Danielak said. “I was looking forward to a better performance than our last time out, and having a full bench made a big difference.”
In game one on Saturday, goals from Mason Denny and Mason Boivin had the game tied at 2-2 through one period of play.
“We haven’t played them in several years, so we didn’t really know what to expect, and it can be tough to start well after a long road trip, so getting off to a good start was good to see,” Danielak said.
Adam Lemery, Simon Bowers and Denny found the net in the second period to keep the game tied at 5-5.
In the third period, Theron Thayer scored the game-winner with four minutes to play and Lemery added an insurance goal two minutes later.
A hat-trick from Lemery paced the Thunder to a 5-2 win in game two.
Lemery got the scoring started midway through the first period.
Broden Krause scored in the closing seconds of the second period to put the Thunder up for good at 2-1.
Lemery was good for two more goals in the third period, while Mason Boivin found the net as well.
Danielak was pleased with the sportsmanship shown on both sides.
“It was a hard battle, and there was a lot of chirping on the ice which I’m normally not a fan of, but I think kids on both sides were having fun with it,” he said. “Immediately after the game, the kids from both teams just became hockey players talking and having fun. That’s what we all want and it was good to see.”
On Sunday, the Thunder traveled to Marquette and were defeated 16-1 and 7-4 by the Junior Wildcats BB squad.
“Our kids were a little tired, and we knew this was a good Marquette team,” Danielak said. “They have been playing together a long time and can make you pay quickly if you’re not ready. I told our kids after that first game that we actually did some good things when we played five-on-five and played our system, and the next game was a much better effort.”
Joey Danielak had the lone Thunder goal in game one, while Glen Woodworth, Denny, Randy Van Haden and Krause all scored in game two.
The Thunder are now 6-10 on the season. They will return to action when they take on Manistique/Newberry in Manistique, Mich. on Sunday.
The Thunder Bantam team split a doubleheader at Manitowoc on Sunday. The Thunder took game one 9-1 while the Breakers took game two 6-5.
In game one the Thunder offense exploded with a pair of goals each from Blue Haley, Chase Linsmeier and Chase Nerat. Damien Winterbottom, Avery Waloway and Brayden Rounds also scored while Haley racked up three assists, Logan Sakovitz had two assists and Rounds and Nerat each had a helper as well.
Meanwhile Ethan King nearly pitched a shutout with 19 saves against 20 shots allowing only one goal with just over four minutes to play.
In game two, Haley recorded a hat trick while Rounds added two goals.
The Thunder fought an uphill battle against seven penalties; however, they offset two power play goals for the Breakers with three shorthanded goals of their own.
Trailing 6-4, Haley knocked in his third goal with 2:13 to play, but the Thunder could not find the equalizer and fell 6-5.
King added 19 more saves to add to a quality day in the net.
The Bantams return to play on Sunday, when they travel to Waupun.
The Thunder 12U Girls swept a doubleheader at Elmbrook on Saturday before dropping two close contests at Green Bay on Sunday.
Against Elmbrook, the Thunder took game one 2-0 and game two 4-1.
Gracelyn Loomis had an outstanding day in goal, stopping 97% (36-37) of the shots she faced in the two games.
Whitney Haile and Kendal Truckey netted the Thunder goals in game one while Loomis recorded the team’s first shutout of the season with 21 saves.
In game two, Nico Fox, Truckey, Samantha Ruiz and Haile all scored goals while Alleah Lentz and Ari Johnson had assists. Loomis stopped 15 of the 16 shots she faced.
In game one on Sunday, Truckey (two goals) and Haile scored for the Thunder while Johnson added another assist. Jadyn Jashinsky recorded 11 saves against 15 shots.
In game two, Haile netted a hat trick with a goal in each period. Lentz also scored for the Thunder while Fox, Johnson and Lentz had assists and Jashinski made 18 saves.
The Thunder girls will host SHAW on Saturday. The puck drops in game one at noon, and game two is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.
The Thunder Squirt B team recorded a pair of hard-fought wins at Escanaba Saturday morning. The Thunder won with scores of 4-2 and 6-2.
In game one, the Thunder got a pair of goals from Parker Perket as well as goals from Brayden Forgette and Jaxen Teteak.
Owen Shaffer, who entered the game with a streak of three consecutive shutouts, did not allow a goal until the third period and stopped ten of the 12 shots he faced.
In game two, six different Thunder players found the net. Alex Bird, Teteak, Perket, Wyatt Kneath, Shaffer and Liam Koch all scored goals while Perket and Shaffer each had a pair of assists.
Landon Dura handled the duties between the pipes and made five saves while the Thunder outshot the Hawks 16-7.
The Squirt B team returns to action on Saturday when they host the Green Bay Squirt A team.