Heading into Wednesday's game versus the Spruce Grove Saints, the Thunder had an exhibition record of 1-2 respectively, playing 3 games in 4 nights here at home. With coach Mueller giving the boys a day off on Tuesday, the Thunder came to the Grant Fuhr Arena well rested and it showed by the pace of the game.
The Thunder went toe to toe against a good Saints roster, with rookies looking to make an impact on the coaching staff. The Saints got out to an early 2-0 lead on goaltender Mitch Martell and the Thunder, but the lead was soon erased by rookie Brett Smythe in the second frame.
The second period was a good effort by the boys, as it was a back and forth defensive affair, with only 9 shots fired at the net by both teams in the period. Towards the end of the frame veterans Brendan McKay and Ross Heidt took matters into their own hands and gave the boys some momentum heading into the third period with a couple of fights. Both McKay and Heidt were ejected from the game for their mix-ups.
The third period brought life into the Thunder, as they were playing with only 9 forwards. The rookies stepped up and capitalized on the Saints penalty trouble, scoring twice on the power play. Newly acquired defenseman Dallen Hall had a spectacular game recording a goal and 2 assists, while playing well over 20 minutes. Rookies Braden Jakubowski and Mitch Martell had stellar games, with Jakubowski scoring the tying goal and also chipped in with a couple assists.. Martell on the other hand stopped 29 of 31 shots and stopped all 4 shooters in the shootout, for his first AJHL win.
The Thunder now move onto Peace River for the annual AJHL Exhibition tournament on Saturday where they will play two games before returning home to get prepared for the season opener September 6th in Grande Prairie.