Despite a sluggish start to the season, the Greece Athena/Odyssey Thunder Hockey team has rallied around and they are now on a roll, having blanked the opposition in their last 3 outings to advance their record to 4-0-1-1. They are currently sitting 4th with 10 pts in the West Division, behind Churchville (16), Brockport (13), and Spencerport (11). However, Thunder has 5, 3, and 2 games in hand, respectively, on those teams and remains unbeaten in regulation. I am confident that the boys in black, purple and gold will carry this momentum into the new year and continue their winning ways. How about a little recap on the holiday 3-pak, shall we?
Thunder asserted their dominance over AQ on Saturday, 18-Dec at the 'shore, with a convincing 4-0 butt whoopin (so coined by Dr Tre). Mike McNeil got things started 4 minutes in when he put away the rebound from a shot by Andrew Sherry during a delayed call that would have gone to AQ. Two and a half minutes later another delayed call would ensue and this time it was Jonathan Clark teeing one up from the point that would find its way through traffic and hit the mark for his first varsity goal, while Thunder was getting the extra man out. Anthony Crawford and Tyler Grimshaw picked up the helpers on Thunder's second goal of the game. Then with a buck and a half left in the opening frame, on the powerplay, AC took a nifty wing-wing seam pass from Jared Tam-Grimshaw and muscled it in 3-hole off the tip of Eadie's glove. Tyler Grimshaw picked up the second hand assist. Thunder really stretched the ice and moved the puck well in the first period and it showed as they outshot AQ 10-4 and were enjoying a 3-0 lead at the break.
Although Thunder chipped a considerable amount of paint off the post, the second period was scoreless and shots were even at 9 aside as AQ attempted to get themselves back in the game. But ASim would have no part of it as he came out and challenged their attack and shut them down every step of the way. He handled the puck well rimming it to the half wall to get the break-out going. Simply put: he was in the zone!
Sweet Car-o-line seems to be catching on as a new crowd favorite as it played once again during the second intermission. Don't get me wrong, it's no Thunderstruck, which by the way was voted as the #1 Hockey Pre-Game tune in the USA Hockey Magazine's Best of Hockey survey, but it does have a nice bounce to it.
Final frame was fairly non-descript, except for McSkillet going bar-down from just inside the blue line to round things out at the 3:18 mark, assisted by Simmy and Grimmy. Lennox, Mahoney, and Hutchison had a couple of nice bids in the final few minutes of play. McClellan and Crowe saw some action on D as well. Shots were 9-7 Thunder, for a 3-period total of 28-20.
First star goes to Andrew Simonelli with a solid performance including 20 saves for the W; second star goes to Mike McNeil with a pair of goals; third star goes to Tyler Grimshaw with a playmaker (3 assists).
Ian Cumming backstopped Thunder's first road win of the season where his team handled Brockport with ease, 4-0 @ Tuttle Arena on Tuesday 21-Dec. Tyler Mattle swept the eventual game winner in with 3 mins to go in the first frame after working hard digging in the paint. Eric Hostetter and Curran O'Brien recorded assists on the goal. Cumming made a nice poke check to prevent a cross-crease pass to open man on back door. Tyler Mattle and Tyler Grimshaw each logged a chest harry, not to be confused with a hairy chest, and Jared had a couple of nice step-ups.
Justin Simonelli went 5 hole to find the back of the net with 3mins to go in the second stanza, off a nice centering pass by Eric Hostetter. Brockport pulled their goalie with 2 seconds to go in the period given there was a face-off in thunder's end, yet they neglected to put the extra man out - oops!
Mike McNeil netted a pair of goals in the final frame with the first coming 3mins in as he went coast to coast after taking the handle from Grimmy and the second coming with 8.5 secs left on a rebound in tight, assisted by Jared Tam-Grimshaw.
Ian Cumming earned the first star with 12 saves for the shutout win; second star goes to Tyler Mattle for his gritty play and the GWG; Third star goes to Eric Hostetter with a pair of assists.
Thunder was home away from home for the holiday on the visitors bench Wed 29-Dec at Lakeshore for a make-up game with Hilton that was rescheduled due to bad weather. Reschedule or not, Hilton was in for bad weather, as Thunder buried the Cadets 9-0 on what proved to be a nite of firsts for the men in black with yellow socks. Three Thunder players notched their first varsity goal, e.g. Joe Vyverberg, Anthony Fedele, and Keenan Mahoney. Additionally, 2 players recorded their first varsity point with an assist, e.g. Ian McLellan and Mike Lucarelli. Everyone got into the game for Thunder as they blew Hilton out of the building, outshooting them 45-9 before a packed house.
Mike McNeil picked up a pair of goals in the first period to prime the pump. First one came at the 946 mark when Justin Simonelli carried the puck deep down the left side and dropped it for McNeil in the hi-slot for the money shot. Eric Hostetter picked up the second helper. Two minutes later it was eHots leading the charge down the left side and flipping a nice saucer over to McNeil for the shorthander commander. It was hard to hear oneself think with the musac from Rizzo's on-ice dance party blaring from the west rink over the top of the divider. Hilton was lulling us to sleep with little resistance allowing sustained pressure in their end for minutes at a time. Shots ended up 20-6 Thunder by the end of the period.
Beginning of second period saw Tyler Mattle once again rewarded for working hard in the trenches as he banked one in off the Hilton netminder's backside from a wide angle for his second goal in two games. AC picked up the lone assist. Simmy walked in and went bar-down at the 10min mark after being sprung by McNeil with some headman sauce up the middle. Three minutes later McSkillet found Joe "Snake" Vyverberg top of the key for the pinball wizard one-timer that hit a skate and a pad before going in. Shots were 12-1 for a 2-period total of 32-7. Cue the Sweet Caroline.
Freshman keeper Quinton Rose took the baton from ASim to finish up between the pipes going into the third. Jared Tam-Grimshaw opened the final period with a snapper that hit the mark off the bro-bro feed from Tyler Grimshaw, also assisted by eHots. Then it was Mike Lucarelli finding Anthony Fedele on the backdoor for the lay-in, nicely done, also assisted by Grimmy. Fast forward to the end of the period and we saw Keenan Mahoney grinding it out and going hard to the net for a pair of goals at the 1 minute mark and again with 3 seconds remaining. Shots were 13-2 Thunder in the third. While he was only forced to make 2 saves in his 15 minutes of glory, Rose passed the test with flying colors as he stoned both of Hiltons top 2 scorers, Corey Sherman and Kolin Sawdey. Eric Grills saw quite a bit of action on D as well.
First star goes to Mike McNeil with 2G/2A for 4pts. Second star goes to Justin Simonelli with 1G/2A for 3pts. Third star goes to Eric Hostetter with 3 assists for the playmaker.