Thunder capture regular season crown

Home sweet home proved to be so once again for the Borderland Thunder when they needed it the most.
The Thunder capped off a stellar 17-1-6 campaign at the Ice for Kids arena with a pair of wins over the Feathermen Hawks–6-1 and 5-3–to clinch first-place in the Superior International Junior Hockey League standings.
They finished with a 28-11-9 record, three points ahead of the Hawks (29-15-4). The Thunder will open game 1 of the SIJHL best-of-seven semi-finals against the fourth-place Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs starting Thursday at 7:30 p.m. here. Game 2 goes Friday at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets for the games here are $10 each and are available at Skates and Blades, C&C Complex, and Mary’s Little Lambs and Mandy’s starting today.
300 tickets will be held for season ticket holders, but those purchasing must bring their season pass.
“It was a huge weekend,” Borderland head coach Wayne Strachan said. “A battle for first, home-ice throughout the playoffs on the line. I have to give credit to all 22 guys on the team. They played strong all year and finished it off with a strong weekend.”
The Thunder set the tone in Friday’s game with hits and forechecking which lead to goals from Kevin Webb and David Lloyd late in the first. After Borderland’s Chad Baldwin and the Hawks’ Ryan Ruth traded goals, Ian Lockman broke through three defenders to beat goalie Jason Stanjkowski to give the Thunder a 4-1 lead. Troy Arnold whistled a screened point shot by Stanjkowski 26 seconds later to give the home team a 5-1 lead.
Kyle Prystupa rounded out the scoring to ice the game.
On Saturday, Baldwin scored late in the second and Lockman notched one early in the third by finding himself open on the side of the net before one-timing a bullet pass from Dallas Mosbeck to break a 2-2 tie.
Lac La Croix’s Dennis Morrison tipped a high point shot past Thunder goaltender Rob Hrabec with 13:25 to go to cut the gap.
After a scoreless first, Boomer Redford and Lockman scored for Borderland and Brent Greene and Steve Atkins replied for the Hawks for the 2-2 tie after 40 minutes. Thunder defenceman Jay Philips added three assists in the win.
Hrabec (16-2-4) stopped 25 shots on Friday and 29 on Saturday to earn both wins.
Strachan said throughout the weekend, his team took a physical approach in subduing the Hawks.
“They’re a team that doesn’t like to be hit. They thrive on momentum and speed and when you’re hitting them, they’re off their game.”
Feathermen coach Todd Howarth said his team, who were one point up on the Thunder heading into the weekend, was not exactly on top of their game in securing the key win to wrap up the title.
“I’m thoroughly disappointed in every aspect of the game,” said Howarth, whose team went 0-4-1 at the Ice for Kids arena this year. “Until my kids learn to play with some passion again, it’ll be a short playoff run for us.”
The second-place Hawks will open their semi-final series against the Dryden Ice Dogs on Friday.
Elsewhere in the SIJHL’s final regular season weekend, Dryden beat the Thunder Bay Wolves twice, 9-2 and 6-3. The Wolves finished the season with a 4-48-2. The KC Bulldogs cancelled their final two games in Grand Rapids against the Iron Range Yellow Jackets due to the region’s weekend snowstorm.