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Three Bolts From The Week

Monday, February 1st
Three Bolts From The Week

Three Bolts From The Week contributed by Zach Courter

Each week I will be rolling out a segment called “Bolts” where I take key points from the week before. The Thunder played the Allen Americans on Saturday in their only exhibition contest of the preseason. The Thunder ended up winning that contest 7-2, scoring four goals in the first period. While Allen sat most of their scoring leaders, the Thunder did as well. Here are my three takeaways from Saturday's contest.

1. Improved GoaltendingThe Thunder allowed two goals on 36 shots on Saturday, with David Shantz starting the game and allowing a goal in the first period. Grant Rollheiser came in midway through the second and allowed a quick goal five minutes into his duties, but settled down to stop 20 of 21. Both men faced several shots and flurries in and around the goal crease, both were able to stay low and move well from side to side, keeping Allen from making the game close. Shantz, who started the game, took three years off from hockey before attending the University of New Brunswick last season, looked solid, stopping 14 of 15 shots.

2. Neal and SidesKenton Miller, Dalton Reum, and Todd Hosmer were the only three returning skaters on the ice for the Thunder. That being said, Joey Sides and Michael Neal looked like they've played on the same line for years. The pairing connected on a two-on-one with just over four minutes left in the first period. Their passing was sharp as well as their ability to transition on the rush. If Coach McClelland decides to keep both of these guys, they would be a blast to watch on the same line.

3. Killer InstinctIf there has been one downfall for the Thunder over their recent successful seasons, it may have been to have a “killer instinct." What I mean by that is closing out games strong defensively while still having a presence in the offensive zone. With a 2-1 lead in the first, the Thunder added two additional goals before the end of the period. They scored first in every period of the game, and did not allow a goal in the third period. Anthony Deluca helped close the contest strong, scoring two goals in the final ten minutes. While the formula may seem like a no brainer to most teams, executing it is another story. One thing is for sure, we would all like to see the Thunder finish games the same way they did on Saturday.

Quick Hits..-The son of former NHL legend Ed Belfour played in the second half of the game for the Allen Americans, stopping 18 of 20 shots.-Kenton Miller had two assists.-Cullen Bradshaw and Mason Baptista, who played together last year at St. Norbert College, each had a goal and an assist.-Allen was 1-for-5 on the power-play, while the Thunder went 0-for-2.