Thunder sweep Golden Hawks

The Borderland Thunder are still undefeated four games into the SIJHL season after posting 4-2 victories over the K&A Golden Hawks here Friday and Saturday.
The Golden Hawks led 1-0 after the first period Friday night even though the Thunder outshot the visitors 12-6.
But David Gooch squared things up five minutes into the second when his slapshot beat Golden Hawks’ goalie Kelly Heikkila through the five hole.
Tyler Barker made it 2-1 about five minutes later with a beautiful short-handed goal that came from a rush down the left side, then Aaron Boyer scored seven minutes later to put the Thunder up by two.
Dennis Morrison made it 4-1 early in the third period, which put the Thunder in the same situation they had been in the previous Sunday against the Golden Hawks.
In that game, the host Golden Hawks scored three-straight goals to erase a 4-1 lead before the Thunder iced the victory with a late goal.
There was no big comeback this time. Jessie Smith scored nine minutes into the third to cut the gap to 4-2, but that was all the visitors could get past Thunder goalie Tyler Gordon, who recorded 18 saves.
“I think the last game, they scored on their opportunities, but tonight, I think the maturity played a part in it,” said Thunder head coach Dave Allison.
The Thunder finished with 35 shots on goal.
“We knew that the goals were going to come. You can’t put 10-15 quality shots on net each period and not get the breaks,” said Thunder captain John McAndrew.
“So if they weren’t going to go in the second, then they would’ve went in the third,” he reasoned.
Saturday’s game was eerily similar to Friday’s as the Golden Hawks scored in the first period even though the Thunder outshot them 13-8.
But Clayton Windigo scored on the power-play 11 minutes into the second, converting a great pass from Kurt Hogard, to draw the Thunder even.
“I just seen Hogard come up the boards and then I seen that lane for his pass and just went back there and hoped to get a shot off, and it went in,” related Windigo.
There was no other scoring in the second, even though the Thunder had 16 shots in the period, but mayhem broke out shortly after Windigo’s goal as a number of fights ensued that saw three Golden Hawks and two Thunder handed game misconducts.
But there was plenty of scoring in the third as Ryan Calhoun put the Thunder up 2-1 eight minutes in.
The Golden Hawks battled back as Kevin Mask squared things at 2-2, but McAndrew gave his team the lead for good with a goal five minutes later.
Hogard added an empty-netter with one second left on the clock to round out the scoring.
The Thunder finished with 42 shots on goal while the Golden Hawks only mustered 21 on Tim Higbee, who now sports a 2-0 record for Borderland.
“Well you know, we haven’t had good first periods the past couple of nights, but the nice thing is that they responded in a positive fashion, and at this point of the year with where we’re at, it’s very encouraging,” said Allison.
The Thunder (3-1), riding a three-game winning streak, sit atop the SIJHL with the Fort William North Stars with seven points. They have scored 14 goals while allowing only night over that span.
McAndrew and Hogard are tied for second place in the SIJHL’s points races with six each.
“It’s looking pretty good,” said Windigo. “We’re gelling together really quick and we’re just playing for each other, and it’s just a lot of fun.”
The Thunder next host the Dryden Ice Dogs (2-2) tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena before playing in the MJHL’s “Showcase” tournament over Thanksgiving weekend.