Minor hockey report: U15 Thunder bounce back nicely against Fort McMurray

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Anybody watching the U15 Thunder against Fort McMurray on the weekend might have wondered if this was the same Fort McMurray team that clobbered Slave Lake before Christmas. Or maybe whether it was the same Slave Lake team. It was the same two teams, but something had changed.

In the first period of the first game of Saturday’s double-header, the Slave Lake boys had the Oil Barons right back on their heels and pinned in their own end for much of the time. It paid off with a 1 – 0 lead when Liam Dierker scored on the powerplay.

Jill Ernest surprised everybody by scoring from a bad angle in the second to restore the one-goal lead. Jonas Lillo got the winner in the third. The Slave Lake defence played really well; Grady Beauchamp only had to deal with 16 shots.

After a short break the teams got right back at it. Slave Lake had a 4 – 2 lead heading into the third period but couldn’t hold onto it. The game ended in a 4 – 4 tie. Jonas Lillo scored twice for the Thunder. Damian Hill and Dierker got the others. Jerzie Green made 28 saves in the Slave Lake net.

Asked about the difference between the two meetings with Fort McMurray, head coach Dwain Hill says there were minor personnel changes, but the main thing was attitude – hard work.

“I knew we could beat these guys,” he says.

The Thunder will get another stiff test this weekend, with a pair of games in Drayton Valley.

The U13 #1 Thunder had a couple of good battles with Drayton Valley this weekend. Saturday’s game ended 5 – 4 for Drayton and Sunday the teams tied 5 – 5. It was Dawson Taylor’s goal that secured the tie for the Thunder in Sunday’s game.

This Sunday the team plays in Barrhead.

The U13 #3 team beat Athabasca 6 – 2 on Saturday in Athabasca; back on home ice Sunday they lost 7 – 6 to Whitecourt. One highlight of that game was an end-to-end rush by Thunder defenceman Gerald Giroux, going through the entire Whitecourt team and scoring.

Giroux scored twice for the Thunder. Getting the other Slave Lake goals were Chase Mountain, Jackson Pretty, Kale Turcotte and Connor Noskey.

The U11 Thunder #1 team beat Barrhead 4 – 3 on Saturday and then topped Edson 4 – 1 on Sunday. Dane Lukan got the winning goal in Saturday’s game. On Sunday it was Eric Martin.

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