Thunder News-by Scott Fisher

Aug. 13, 2018

Thunder streak ends at 18


November 18, 2018

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are human after all.
The Thunder had their season-opening winning streak snapped at 18 games on Friday as the visiting Coaldale Copperheads skated to a 4-2 victory.
Tristan Paquette and Brett LeGrandeur scored for the Thunder while Airdrie product Jared Bainbridge, the reigning HJHL player of the week, lit the lamp for the Copperheads.
Paquette said it was disappointing to have the streak end.
“It was awesome,” Paquette said. “To win 18 in a row is quite an accomplishment.
“We have a lot to be proud of. The guys have been working hard all year.
“Sure, we lost one. But it’s just one and there’s a bunch of games left.”
The Copperheads (12-2-2) held a 2-0 lead before LeGrandeur got the hosts on the board with five seconds left in the second period.
Coaldale, which owned a 36-34 advantage on the shot clock, added two more early in the third period to take control of the game.
Paquette said his squad had been relying too much on its skill in recent games and it finally caught up with them.
“When you start getting away from the details and the simplicity of the game, (a loss) was bound to happen,” Paquette said.
“I’m sure the guys will be working a little harder in practice and in the game on Sunday.
“Maybe we can start another streak.”
The Thunder will have a chance to get back in the win column when they visit the Blackfalds Wranglers (4-7-4) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.


Captain MacDonald tired of watching


November 16, 2018

Hockey players, it should come as no surprise, love to watch hockey.

Unless it's their own team.

Airdrie Techmation Thunder captain Jacob MacDonald missed five games after taking a hit to the head last month.

And he wasn't a big fan of being ... well, a fan.

“Sitting out was really hard,” MacDonald said. “Especially the last couple of games when I thought I probably could have played.

“But I sat out for precautionary reasons.”

That's never a bad decision when it comes to head injuries and MacDonald, who returned to the lineup last week, said he feels completely healthy now.

“The head is feeling good,” the 20-year-old said. “I took ample time to heal.”

The high-powered Thunder continued to rack up the wins in his absence.

At 18-0, Airdrie is the lone perfect team in the province.

“Sitting out, I could see just how skilled we were,” MacDonald said. “But you could also see how, over time, we've started to depend on our skill more and more.

“And we've been getting away with it. But getting back to hard, simple plays is something we have to focus on more.”

MacDonald is back but the Thunder will be without league-leading scorer Jordan McConnell, who is out of the country attending a family wedding, when the HJHL's top team puts its perfect record on the line Friday night against the visiting Coaldale Copperheads (11-2-2) at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

The Thunder had their way with the Copperheads the first time the two teams met as Airdrie skated to a convincing 10-3 win in Coaldale in the second game of the season.

MacDonald, a chemical engineering student at the U of C, isn't expecting an easy time of it against former Thunder winger Jared Bainbridge and the Copperheads.

“I'm expecting a closer game than last time,” MacDonald said. “But I think our streak will live on.”



Thunder special teams lead the way


November 10th, 2018

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder have been a special team this season.

On Friday night it was their special teams that were the difference in a 6-3 road victory over the Stettler Lightning.

The Thunder scored on three of their six powerplays and killed off all nine shorthanded situations to remain perfect at 17-0.

“Our powerplay really clicked and was generating a lot of chances,” Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said.

“Our PK worked really hard and deserves a lot of credit for killing off that many penalties.”

Brayden Dunn led the way with two goals and an assist while Jordan McConnell had a goal and two helpers. Rylan Plante-Crough, Brett Campbell and Kirkland Spencer each finished with a goal and an assist.

The Thunder visit the Mountainview Colts (9-4) on Wednesday (8 p.m.).



Giroux pots pair in first game as Thunder win 10-6


November 4th, 2018

The rich just got richer.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder, who have an embarrassment of offensive weapons, welcomed Zachary Giroux back to the lineup for the first time this season.

Giroux scored twice and added an assist as the Thunder beat the Stampeders 10-6 in Ponoka on Sunday.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp was happy to add one of last season’s most dangerous players back into the fold.

“He looked pretty good,” Stamp said. “A little rusty, but still impactful.”

Giroux showed up at the right time. The Stamps scored three times in a span of 3:40 to take a 6-5 lead in the second period.

But Giroux knotted the game in the final minute of the period and the visitors scored four unanswered goals in the final frame to move to 16-0 on the season 

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough also scored twice apiece while Cooper Page, Jackson Gibson, Zachary Dubois and Caleb Reed added singles. Jason Wenzel contributed four assists 

Ryan Simpson played the second half of the game and kicked out all five pucks that came his way to pick up the win.

Airdrie outshot Ponoka (2-7-2) 62-29.

The Thunder visit the Stettler Lightning on Friday (7:30 p.m.).


Page scores pair as Thunder beat Lakers 8-2


November 3rd, 2018 

Keep shooting, coaches say. Eventually they’ll go in.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder kept firing away Friday night - blasting 75 pucks in all - and eventually found a chink in the armour of Lomond Lakers goaltender Brady Newton.

Cooper Page, Rylan Plante-Crough and Jordan McConnell scored twice each in the 8-2 victory as the Thunder moved to 15-0 on the season.

Page couldn’t help but tip his cap to Newton, who made 50 saves through 45 minutes to keep it a 4-2 game.

“It was one of those games where not everything went our way,” Page said. “But you have to give props to their goalie, too. He played a hell of a game.

“You have to give it to their team, too. They came out hard.”

Tyler McCarry and Tristan Paquette also scored as the Thunder had 14 different players hit the scoresheet.

Goaltender Ryan Simpson (7-0) made 25 saves for the win.

Page sits third in league scoring with 29 points, behind teammate McConnell (61) and Plante-Crough (56).

The Calgary product said he’s noticed every team brings it’s a-game against the Thunder, wanting to be the club that hands Airdrie its first loss of the 2018-19 season 

“Teams expect to play their top games against us,” Page said. “They’re going to play us hard and we have to expect that game in and game out. 

“It’s one of those things we have to prepare for.” 

Page said he expects another intense battle against the Stampeders in Ponoka on Sunday (3 p.m.).

“They play hard,” Page said of the Stamps, who held a second period lead over the Thunder before Airdrie stormed back for the win last week. “They gave us a run for our money.

“We’ll have to have everyone going.”


Dunn tricks Stamps


October 27, 2018

Scoring a hat-trick is no small feat.

Potting a pair of them is one heck of a season for most players.

Brayden Dunn picked up a pair of tricks ... in one game.

Dunn scored six goals and added a trio of assists for good measure as he nearly single-handedly took apart the Ponoka Stampeders.

But Dunn credited his Thunder teammates after Airdrie rallied to beat the Stampeders 12-4 Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen arena, running their HJHL record to a perfect 13-0.

“The guys were getting the puck to me and things were just going my way tonight,” Dunn said. “So, a lot of credit to the teammates.

“We were using each other and playing as a team even though we got down a goal.

The final score might suggest a blowout, but the Stamps actually led the contest 4-3 late in the second period.

But then Dunn went to work, scoring a natural hat-trick in just 1:44 to give the hosts a 6-4 lead heading into the final frame.

The Thunder scored six unanswered goals in the third period, turning the tight tilt into a rout.

Jordan McConnell, Brett LeGrandeur, Rylan Plante-Crough, Tristan Paquette, Kirkland Spencer and Caleb Reed also scored for the Thunder.

Dunn had trouble remembering the last time he scored a double hat-trick.

“Probably going back to pee wee,” Dunn said. “Some time in pee wee I think I got seven goals.”

That probably earned young Dunn a milkshake from his proud mom.

“Yeah, probably,” Dunn said with a chuckle. “McDonalds or something, maybe a DQ Blizzard.

“She was here watching tonight. It's the first game she's been to in a year, so that was for her, I guess.”

The reason for Mrs. Dunn's absence is that her son hasn't played hockey in over a year, sitting out with a badly injured ankle.

He decided to test out his ankle in his season debut on Oct. 19 but didn't register a point.

Since then? Hat-trick, hat-trick, double hat-trick - a dozen goals and 21 points in three games.

The ankle, it appears, is alright.

“I didn't play hockey last year because of the ankle and I wasn't going to play this year,” the 20-year-old said. “The ankle was feeling a little better so I thought I might as well give it a shot.

“It's been working pretty well for me so far. Hopefully it continues.”

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said Dunn is a true game-breaker that can turn things around in a hurry.

“The first half of the game was tight,” Stamp said. “We weren't getting the bounces and we made a lot of mental mistakes.

“The whole team elevated but a big part of that was Brayden Dunn. He scored some quick goals and gave us a push-back at the end of the second (period), and then everyone started rolling.”

The Thunder travel to High River on Saturday to take on the Flyers (4-8-2) at 5:30 p.m.


Thunder storm Lakers 15-1


October 21, 2018

They scored early. And they scored often.

Dane Bennett-Nimijean scored 45 seconds after the opening face-off and finished with one of the team's three hat-tricks as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder crushed the Lomond Lakers 15-1 on Saturday night in Claresholm.

Cooper Page and Brayden Dunn also enjoyed three-goal outings as the Thunder remained perfect at 11-0.

“We were able to roll all four lines and make sure everyone got a lot of ice time,” said Thunder head coach Derek Stamp.

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell scored twice and finished with a game-high five points.

Linemate Rylan Plante-Crough had a goal and four points.

Jason Wenzel, Brett Campbell and Kirkland Spencer rounded out the scoring while rookie goaltender Jackson Little made 18 saves in the lopsided win.

The Thunder look to keep rolling on Tuesday when they visit the Three Hills Thrashers (8 p.m.)




Thunder stage third-period comeback to beat Bisons 3-2


OCTOBER 19, 2018

Make it a perfect 10.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder improved to 10-0 on the season, but they had to work for their latest win, a 3-2 triumph over the visiting Okotoks Bisons on Friday night.

Trailing 2-1 midway through the third period, the Thunder got goals from their big guns — Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough — to remain the lone perfect team in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.

Caleb Reed scored Airdrie’s other marker late in the second period.

“It felt good to finally get one,” Reed said after potting his first goal of the season.

“We got a couple of greasy ones there. You just have to keep throwing them on net. Hopefully something good happens, and it did.

“The boys are really gelling and working well together.”

The Bisons (8-2-1) took a 2-0 lead and looked to be in a good spot with star goaltender Devin Reagan boarding up the net at the other end.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said his squad stuck with the game plan despite scoring just once in the opening 53 minutes.

“Okotoks played a really good game,” Stamp said. “They were really structured early and definitely frustrated us,” Stamp said. “But we were committed to the process.

“We talked about it as a group, controlled our emotions and understood if we keep doing what we’re doing, eventually a bounce was going to go our way.”

McConnell’s league-leading 18th of the season tied the game with just over seven minutes to play before Plante-Crough notched the game-winner on a powerplay with 2:13 remaining.

“It’s a true testament to how strong these guys are mentally,” Stamp said. “We never really panicked.

“This will go a long way to show that if you stick with a game plan, even when there’s adversity, we can come through.”

Airdrie was outshot (42-38) for the first time this season but goaltender Ryan Simpson stood tall to improve to 5-0.

The Thunder hit the road on Saturday to take on the Lomond Lakers (3-4) in Claresholm (8:30 p.m.).




For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder

It will be a clash of the Titans


OCTOBER 18, 2018

Friday's heavyweight tilt between the Airdrie Techmation Thunder and the Okotoks Bisons will feature the top two teams in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
The Thunder (9-0) own the league's only perfect record while the Bisons will show up at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.) with an 8-1-1 mark, good for top spot in the Southern Division.
For the most part, the Thunder have relied on an over-powering offence to pummel teams into submission.
The Bisons, on the other hand, employ a stifling defence.
Okotoks goaltender Devin Reagan (5-2) has a 1.96 goals-against average and a pair of shutouts this season.
Thunder 'tender Ryan Simpson (4-0, 2.25) is up to the challenge at his end of the ice.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to facing Reagan again," Simpson said. "When I saw the game on the schedule, I was excited about potentially facing off against him."
The Thunder have scored more than any team in the league, piling up 7.7 goals per game. The Bisons rank second, lighting the lamp 5.5 times per outing.
But Okotoks surrenders an HJHL-best 1.5 goals per game, just ahead of Airdrie at 2.0.
Goals may be hard to come by for both squads but Simpson said he doesn't feel any extra pressure.
"Not really," he said. "I think if we, as a team, just focus on playing our game with a strong attention to details like Derek (Stamp, head coach) has been preaching all year, I really like our chances."
Stamp agrees, saying he has confidence in his squad.
"Okotoks has had a very strong start to the season and we do anticipate a close game," Stamp said. "We are confident in our group, our approach, and our game plan. 
"If we play the way we know we can, we will be able to create offensive chances."
Jordan McConnell leads the HJHL with 17 goals and 36 points with linemate Rylan Plante-Crough (15 goals, 31 points) close behind.
The next-closest scorer in Okotoks' Austin O'Bray with 10 markers and 16 points.




Thunder sweep weekend trio with 6-3 win

Out-manned? Yes.

Out-gunned? No chance.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder, with just a dozen skaters, doubled up the Wranglers 6-3 in Blackfalds on Sunday to sweep their three-games-in-three-days weekend.

Tristan Paquette took full advantage of the extra ice-time, scoring a hat-trick to lead the way offensively. 

“It was definitely a solid game for Tristan,” said Thunder head coach Derek Stamp. “He really stepped up and had a breakout offensively.”

League-leading scorer Jordan McConnell had a goal and two helpers while Dane Bennett-Nimijean and Brett LeGrandeur also lit the lamp as the Thunder improved to 9-0 on the season.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out 24 pucks as Airdrie killed off eight of nine Blackfalds powerplays.

The Thunder, who also beat the Red Deer Vipers (4-0) and Medicine Hat Cubs (6-1) earlier in the weekend, will face another stiff test next Friday when they host the Okotoks Bisons (8-1-1) at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.


Thunder crush Cubs 6-1


OCTOBER 13, 2018

Two up, two down.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder won their second game in as many nights, dumping the Cubs 6-1 in Medicine Hat onSaturday night. 

League-leading scorers Jordan McConnell and Rylan Plante-Crough finished with two goals and two assists apiece as Airdrie improved to 8-0 on the season.

“It was a good game,” said Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp. “We just stuck to the gameplan.

“There was nothing fancy. It was just a hard-working two points on the road.”

Affiliated player Logan Rutherford, with his first of the season, and Michal Wojciechowski rounded out the scoring. 

Ryan Simpson kicked out 24 pucks to pick up the win.

The Thunder will finish off their three-in-three weekend against the Wranglers in Blackfalds on Sunday (3:30 p.m.).



Thunder blank Vipers 4-0


October 13, 2018

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.

Well, this one was freezing.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder had to wait nearly seven months — 210 days, to be exact — to gain retribution against the Red Deer Vipers.

The defending HJHL champs knocked the Thunder out of the post-season in the sixth game of the Northern Division final last March.

On Friday night, the Thunder earned a bit of payback with a convincing 4-0 victory at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out all 26 shots that came his way as the Thunder, the only remaining perfect team in the HJHL, improved to 7-0 on the season.

The 18-year-old said his first HJHL shutout was a little extra-special because he could tell his teammates wanted to beat the Vipers badly.

“In the room before the game, the guys were talking about the rivalry and how they wanted to win,” Little said. “So there was that energy going into it.

“I felt confident. The puck was hitting me and the team was playing really well.

“In the end, they clamped it down and helped me out.”

The Thunder are accustomed to blowing teams out with the league’s most potent offence, but they relied more on their defensive prowess to beat the Vipers.

Jason Wenzel scored the eventual game-winner a minute shy of the game’s halfway point. Jordan McConnell, Rylan Plante-Crough and Brett Campbell added all the insurance Little would need.

Airdrie product Michael Dubois picked up an assist and was one of 10 Thunder players who all had one point in the victory.

“We started off a little slow but we came together after the first (period),” the veteran defenceman said.

“We lost to Red Deer the past couple years so it was nice to start off the year with a big win against them.”

The Thunder owned a 36-26 advantage on the shot clock and killed off all eight Vipers powerplays.

Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp was obviously pleased with what he saw Friday night.

“There’s obviously always high emotions any time we play against Red Deer,” Stamp said. “What we, as a coaching staff, liked the most was this hockey team responded to adversity — it didn’t react to adversity.

“In past years, that reaction has put us on the wrong side of the scoresheet.

“But this team showed it can respond to it properly and the result was a win.”

The Thunder will hit the road in search of two more wins before the weekend is over.

They’ll visit the Cubs in Medicine Hat on Saturday (7:45 p.m.) before taking on the Wranglers in Blackfalds on Sunday (3:30 p.m.)


For more information:
Derek Stamp
Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder

Thunder, Vipers rekindle rivalry


October 11, 2018

It’s been seven months.

But the wounds, for some, are still fresh.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder might have a little extra fuel in the tank Friday night (8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen Arena) when they host the Red Deer Vipers, the team that eliminated the Thunder in HJHL Northern Division final last March.

Forward Brett Campbell has had this date circled on his calendar since the season started.

“Yeah, this has been a game that I have been looking forward to for quite some time,” the veteran said. “It will be a hard, but exciting, game.”

Airdrie and Red Deer have met in the playoff in each of the past three springs, with the Vipers winning the last two matchups.

“The rivalry last year with them was fairly strong,” Campbell said. “With tem putting us out of the playoffs last year, it most definitely has grown the rivalry we seem to have with them.”

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp agreed, saying intense playoff clashes will certainly pour gas on a heated rivalry.

“I would say that there is a rivalry between the two teams, yes,” Stamp said. “We played some really great games against each other last season and battled hard in the division final.

“Both teams have seen some turnover in their rosters for this year but I am sure there is enough carry-over to keep the rivalry going.”

The Thunder come into Friday’s tilt with a perfect 6-0 record while the Vipers are 3-2.

Stamp expects a tighter game than most of the one-sided affairs his squad has been involved in this season, but doesn’t use any other club as a litmus test to see how the Thunder compare.

“Playing against the Vipers pushes us to be at our best and we expect a challenging game on Friday,” Stamp said.

“Is it a measuring stick to gauge where we fit? Not really,” Stamp said. “We know the type of team we can be and expect to be.

“We will continue to focus on the overall process. Individual games (like the one against Red Deer) will present different challenges throughout the year and we will work to make sure we are in a position to always be improving our overall game.”

Friday’s Northern Division final rematch isn’t the only game on the Thunder’s schedule.

They’ll also travel to Medicine Hat (Saturday, 7:45 p.m.) and Blackfalds (Sunday, 3:30 p.m.).

“Three-game weekends are something every team has to deal with in this league and they are a test in handling adversity,” Stamp said.

“We will approach each game the same and understand, going in, that our focus on structure and details will be an important factor in having a successful weekend.”


Thunder Thump Generals 12-4


The Airdrie Techmation Thunder spread the wealth on Thanksgiving weekend.

 Nine different players scored as the Thunder thumped the visiting Cochrane Generals 12-4 Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

Jordan McConnell continued his torrid scoring pace with two goals and six points while linemate Rylan Plante-Crough and Cooper Page had a pair of goals each.

Defenceman Jason Wenzel, just 2:35 into the game, and Jackson Gibson scored shorthanded goals as the Thunder improved to 6-0 on the season.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp said he expected a tighter score.

“We had played Cochrane twice in the pre-season and both of those were fairly close games,” Stamp said. “They won one and we won one.

“But it’s hard to tell in pre-season what the final team is going to look like. 

“And they had only played one game before this one so it was really hard to have any kind of expectation.”

Dane Bennett-Nimijean, Zachary Dubois, Tristan Paquette and Michal Wojciechowski also lit the lamp for the Thunder, who owned a 47-38 advantage on the shot clock.

The Thunder will get a week off before returning home to face the defending HJHL champion Red Deer Vipers next Friday (8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen Arena).

“It was a busy week, so it will be good to have some rest,” Stamp said. “Especially because next weekend, we have three games in three nights.

“We’ll have a home game to start it off and then two road trips so that will be a challenge.”

 Airdrie will finish up the weekend with games in Medicine Hat (Saturday) and Blackfalds (Sunday).


Thunder overcome deficit to beat Colts 4-2


October 4, 2017


The scoreboard at the Didsbury Recreation Complex showed something no one on the Airdrie Thunder bench has seen this season

A deficit.

The Thunder trailed the Mountainview Colts 2-1 — the first time the Airdrie squad has been behind in 2018-19 — in the second period on Wednesday night.

But Brett Campbell squared the game near the midway point.

And then there was a familiar sight on the scoreboard — No. 8, otherwise known as Rylan Plante-Crough, who was named Heritage Junior Hockey League player of the week earlier Wednesday.

The Airdrie product scored twice in the final frame, including once into an empty net, to give the Thunder a 4-2 win.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp said it was good for his team, which had out-scored its competition 37-8 in the first four games, to be in a tight contest.

“We handled the adversity and being in a close game really well,” Stamp said. “We were simple and structured in the third period and that was enough.

“Mountainview is always tough in their building so it was nice to come out of there with two points.”

Jordan McConnell had a goal and a pair of assists to keep pace with Plante-Crough atop the HJHL standings.

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little won his third game of the season.

The Thunder will put their 5-0 record on the line on Friday against the visiting Cochrane Generals (0-1) at 8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

“We expect a good game from Cochrane,” Stamp said. “They always seem to play fast and we will have to be ready.”


Thunder sweep weekend home games to remain perfect at  4-0


September 30th, 2018

 Rylan Plante-Crough wasn’t going to let his linemate have all the fun.

After helping Jordan McConnell put up eight goals and 16 points in the first three games of the season, Plante-Crough decided to join the scoring party.

 The veteran forward scored a third-period hat trick on Saturday night as the Airdrie Techmation Thunder beat the High River Flyers 7-1.

“We’ve been battling it out for the scoring,” Plante-Crough said of the friendly competition with his linemate.

“I don’t think we really care. We’re clicking so that’s all that matters.”

The Thunder, who also dumped the Blackfalds Wranglers 7-2 on Friday, improved to 4-0 on the season.

 They’ve out-scored the competition 37-8 in those four games.

McConnell and Plante-Crough, who have 19 points apiece, are a big part of the reason why the Thunder have been blowing teams out.

But the 20-year-old said the chemistry wasn’t always obvious.

“I was kind of nervous because in pre-season, we were pretty slow,” Plante-Crough said.

“But as soon as the regular season came, we turned it around.”

McConnell had two goals and a helper while Dane Bennett-Nimijean and Tristan Paquette had a goal and an assist each to round out the scoring on Saturday

Thunder goaltender Ryan Simpson lost his shutout bid with 3:57 to play but said he wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

“I’m not going to worry about it,” Simpson said after kicking out 24 pucks to improve to 2-0 on the season.

“I felt good at the start and carried that through the rest of the game.”

 Simpson said his squad has made it easy for him by filling the net at the other end.

 “It’s really nice,” Simpson said. “We have no weaknesses.

 “I think our defensive core is really good and obviously our offence is taking care of itself.”

 The Thunder outshot High River 58-25.

 Airdrie visits the Mountainview Colts on Wednesday before returning home to face the Cochrane Generals on Friday (8 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


Thunder open homestand with convincing win


September 29th, 2018

Zachary Dubois showed up to camp looking to compete for a spot as a defenceman.

Airdrie Techmation Thunder coach Derek Stamp saw a different opportunity.

Dubois started the season on the club's top forward line and on Friday led the Thunder to a 7-2 win over the Blackfalds Wranglers on Friday.

We had balanced scoring,” Stamp said after the win. “ We had seven different scorers.”

Dubois, an Airdrie product, scored once and added a pair of assists as the Thunder improved to 3-0 on the season.

Rylan-Plante Crough and captain Jacob MacDonald gave the hosts a 2-1 lead after the opening period.

The Thunder took complete control in the middle frame as Tristan Paquette, Brett Campbell, Jason Wenzel and HJHL player-of-the-week Jordan McConnell lit the lamp to give the hosts a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Rookie Jackson Little kicked out 19 pucks for his second win of the year.

The Thunder, who held a 54-21 advantage on the shot clock, will put their 3-0 record on the line Saturday night when they host the High River Flyers on Saturday (7:15 p.m. At the Ron Ebbesen Arena).


McConnell tears it up on opening weekend


September 27, 2018

Fourteen points in two games.

Not too bad.

If you're playing street hockey ... against much younger kids ... who are using broken sticks.

But to pile up 14 points in a pair of Heritage Junior Hockey League games?

Airdrie Techmation Thunder forward Jordan McConnell is having a hard time explaining everything fell into place last weekend.

It's pretty crazy,” McConnell said. “I still can't believe how it happened.

I was looking back and our line didn't miss on any scoring opportunities.”

That's an understatement.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder opened the season with four goals and eight points as the Thunder routed the visiting Stettler Lightning 13-2. The following night, he picked up a hat-trick as part of a six-point night as the Thunder beat the Copperheads 10-3 in Coaldale.

McConnell was named the HJHL player of the week following his incredible debut.

Dante Raposo was the last Thunder player to earn player of the week honours on Oct. 17 of the 2017-18 season.

Current captain Jacob MacDonald also won the award on Sept. 26 of last season.

And the 20-year-old and linemates Rylan Plante-Crough (four goals and a dozen points in the two tilts) and Zach Dubois are just starting to gel.

Rylan is a good player, for sure,” McConnell said. “Zach actually tried out as a defenceman and coach put him up on our line to try him out as a forward.”

Whatever personal goals McConnell had for this season, he'll likely have to re-adjust the numbers after his monstrous weekend.

But there's one goal that will remain unchanged.

Obviously, I don't expect to keep that pace all year long,” McConnell said. “That's ridiculous.

But I'd like to get as many points as I can and the organization is looking for a championship this year.

That's the ultimate goal for everyone.”

McConnell and Co. hope to keep rolling this weekend with a pair of home dates.

The Thunder will host the Blackfalds Wranglers on Friday night (8 p.m.) before the High River Flyers pay a visit on Saturday (7:15 p.m.). Both games are at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

It's been awhile since McConnell has played a competitive game in his home rink.

The Airdrie product spent the past three seasons in the AJHL with the Drayton Valley Thunder and Calgary Canucks.

I thought it was time for me to start going to school,” said McConnell, who is studying business at the U of C. “I didn't see myself finding a Division I scholarship (in the NCAA).

So I thought it was time to move on from that dream and start my schooling.

It was a tough choice to leave but ultimately I think I made the right decision.”

And hey, polishing off a junior career at home on a team that appears ready to take a shot at the league title - nothing wrong with that.

Yeah, I'm with all my friends, at my home rink, everything like that.

I think we can go all the way with this team. I don't really see any weak spots in our lineup.

We've only played two games together so the more we practice and play together, the better we're going to get.”

That's a scary thought.



Thunder start season 2-0 with lopsided wins

September 24th, 2018

By Scott Fisher


When the Thunder rolls, get out of the way.

 The Airdrie Techmation Thunder out-gunned their opposition 23-4 on the opening weekend of Heritage Junior Hockey League action.

 The Thunder destroyed the Copperheads 10-3 in Coaldale on Saturday night to cap off an impressive opening weekend.

Veteran sniper Rylan Plante-Crough opened the night with a natural hat-trick and, as it turned out, that’s all the offence the Thunder would need as they moved to 2-0 on the season.

Jordan McConnell followed up a monstrous eight-point opening night - a 13-2 runaway over the visiting Stettler Lightning - with another hat-trick on Saturday.

Plante-Crough and McConnell each had a trio of assists on Saturday to finish with six-point nights.

Thunder bench boss Derek Stamp gave his squad full marks for Saturday’s road win.

“We played fast, structured and composed,” Stamp said after his club started 2-0 for the second consecutive season.

“And we made them pay on a five-minute powerplay to start the third period.”

The Thunder pounded four powerplay goals past the Copperheads ’tender early in the final frame to put the game on ice.

Thunder goaltender Ryan Simpson stood tall through yet another trying emotional situation.

Following the tragic death of his twin brother, Morgan, Ryan wore his sibling’s jersey during warm-ups during the 2018 playoffs.

Morgan, an Airdrie product, was a beloved member of the Copperheads following a stint with the HJHL’s Cochrane Generals.

Ryan kicked out 19 shots to record the victory in his first start of the season.

Rookie Brett Legrandeur, Jason Wenzel, Tyler McCarry and Kirkland Spencer also lit the lamp Saturday night

The Blackfalds Wranglers will visit the Thunder Friday night at the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

The High River Flyers visit on Saturday (7:15 p.m.).



Thunder crush Lightning in season opener

September 20th 2018

By Scott Fisher

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder kicked off their 2018-19 season with a bang Friday night.

Jordan McConnell scored four times and finished with eight points and captain Jacob MacDonald had a hat-trick as the Thunder pounded the Stettler Lightning 13-2 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.

Veteran Rylan Plante-Crough had a goal as part of a six-point night and newcomer Cooper Page light the lamp once and had five points in the blowout victory.

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp was obviously pleased with the offensive explosion against the short-staffed Lightning but said cautioned that his club still has some work to do 

“We got up early and they only had 10 skaters,” Stamp said. “The struggle then became about us trying to make sure we maintained our details and didn’t fall into bad habits.”

Zachary Dubois opened the scoring 2:10 into the game with his first of two markers on the night and McConnell netted his first 22 seconds later to kick-start the home side, which outshot Stettler 70-26.

Benjamin Orde and Brett Legrandeur also lit the lamp for the Thunder, who led 5-1 after the first period and 9-2 after 40 minutes.

“We did a lot of things well, especially offensively,” Stamp said. “But there was a lot of sloppiness, especially in the defensive zone.

“It’s nice to get some flow going and it was an opportunity to give our young guys a lot of ice time. They played in a lot of situations and got a feel for what this league is all about.”

Rookie goaltender Jackson Little booted out 24 pucks to pick up his first Heritage Junior Hockey League win.

The Thunder, who went 3-for-4 on the powerplay, travel to Coaldale to play the Copperheads Saturday night.





Thunder - Home opener story

September 20th 2018

By Scott Fisher

It’s shaping up to be quite a storm.

Then again, whenever you get Thunder and Lightning together, that’s usually the outcome.

The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are set to kick off the Heritage Jr. Hockey League season on Friday night.

The Thunder will welcome the Stettler Lightning to the Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.).

Airdrie head coach Derek Stamp is excited to get things started after his club went 2-2 in the pre-season.

“We feel really positive about the roster we have put together,” Stamp said. “We have a great mix of size, speed, and skill as well as some great attitudes and a much stronger attention to detail.”

The Thunder went 23-9-4 last season and will look to improve on their 50-point campaign, which was good for second in the Northern Division.

The Lightning (16-17-3) ended up fifth in the division last season.

Veteran goaltender Ryan Simpson will be joined by rookie Jackson Little to solidify Airdrie’s crease.

“Both Simpson and Little had good pre-seasons and we are excited to see what they can do in the regular season,” Stamps said.

There are only five returning faces, including captain Jacob MacDonald, from the opening-night roster from a year ago.

Rookie Brett LeGranduer and veteran Cooper Page are just two new players worth keeping an eye on.

“Brett LeGranduer is an Airdrie kid, played Midget AAA for the Bisons last year,” Stamp said. “He is very talented and we expect him to have a real impact this year.

“Cooper was part of a championship team (Kimberley Dynamiters) in the KIJHL last season and brings with him an understanding of what it takes to win, both on and off the ice.”

The Thunder hit the road on Saturday for a date with the Coaldale Copperheads (8:30 p.m.).




Thunder name Jacob MacDonald captain for 2018-19 season

August 20, 2018

Jacob MacDonald will wear the ‘C’.

The veteran winger was named captain by Airdrie Techmation Thunder head coach Derek Stamp.

Stamp said MacDonald was an easy choice to lead the Thunder during the Heritage Junior Hockey League 2018-19 campaign.

“He was such a good player last year,” Stamp said. “He really bought into what we were asking our players to do.

“I think that was evident on the ice in the numbers he was able to put up and the responsibility he took on in all three zones.

“Just being able to execute those values made him an easy choice.”

MacDonald put up 21 goals and 42 points in 34 regular-season tilts in 2017-18 following a 24-point rookie campaign.

He will take over for out-going captain Clay Murray, who graduated from the junior ranks at the conclusion of last spring’s playoffs.

MacDonald is familiar with both the veteran core and some of the new faces the team will add this fall when evaluation camp kicks off on Monday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).

“He covers both the group that was here prior and the new guys coming in,” Stamp said.

“And his leadership skills made him an easy choice.”

MacDonald is a product of the Airdrie Minor Hockey system, playing with the Bantam and Midget Lightning.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pounder said having the ‘C’ stitched on his chest is something special.

“It’s really humbling,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait to start the season.

“I feel really honoured." 

The Thunder will be looking to build on a successful ’17-18 season that saw the team finish with a 23-9-4 record.

“I think we’ll do better league-wise,” MacDonald said. “There are a lot of teams that are losing good guys. I don’t know if we’ll be a way better team but we’ll be on par with last year.

Stamp said he expects the U of C student, who is heading into his third year in the chemical engineering program, to lead by example.

“He doesn’t go out of his way to talk when he doesn’t necessarily need to,” Stamp said. “When something has to be said, he’ll say it.

“For the most part, it’s the day-in, day-out details both on and off the ice, showing up to practices and games, being ready and prepared.

“It’ll be great for our other players to be able to follow that and see, that by him doing these things, it led to the progression he’s made in this league to become the player he is.

“It will show these guys the way they need to play to be successful in this league.”





For more information:

Derek Stamp

Head coach, Airdrie Techmation Thunder




Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 175 lb.

Birth: Aug. 18, 1998

Number: 18


            GP       G         A         Pt         PIM

2015-16           1          1          2          3          0

2016-17           35        8          16        24        50

2017-18           34        21        21        42        14

Career 70        30        39        69        64


By Scott Fisher


The Airdrie Techmation Thunder are ready to hit the ice.

The Heritage Junior Hockey League club will be looking to build on a successful 2017-18 campaign when it holds an evaluation camp beginning with registration on Monday, Sept. 3 (5 p.m. at the Ron Ebbesen Arena).

Thunder head coach Derek Stamp expects a healthy turnout at this year’s camp.

“Registration just opened so we don’t have any confirmed numbers yet,” Stamp said. “We expect to have a good turnout based on conversations with players throughout the summer, confirmed returning players, and general interest from players that graduated  from Minor Hockey last season.”

Camp consists of four try-out sessions and five pre-season games.

“The format will be a combination of high pace drills and small area games for the four tryout sessions,” Stamp said. “With five exhibition games scheduled against other HJHL teams, we will have a great opportunity to evaluate players in game situations as well.”

The Thunder finished with a 23-9-4 record last season, falling to the eventual HJHL champion Red Deer Vipers in the North Division final.

Stamp could have as many as a dozen returning players from that team but said he expects to identify new talent at camp and throughout the pre-season.

“This is our main camp and we will use it to evaluate everyone,” Stamp said. “We are serious about competing at the highest level and always looking to improve our roster. We will have 10-12 veterans from last years team at camp along with some very talented players that played junior in other leagues last season.

“And we’ll have some rookies that we expect to push hard for a roster spot.”

The HJHL provides high-level players an opportunity to balance hockey with busy school or work schedules.

“We offer a very balanced season for the players with two set practice days and times per week, a consistent schedule for all home games, one per week, and confirmed away games, typically one per week,” Stamp said. “We provide this information up front to allow our players the ability to plan their schedules accordingly.

“We are flexible (with the proper advance notice) on player absences due to exams and projects.

“Our mandate is to develop these players both on and off the ice.

“Life is busy and we try to teach our players how to properly schedule things while understanding accountability for absences.”

On-ice sessions begin on Tuesday, Sept. 4 (8:30 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen) with the first pre-season game slated for Friday, Sept. 7, against the visiting Three Hills Thrashers (8 p.m.).

The camp costs $200, which will be put towards the player’s annual fees if he is selected for the final roster.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Derek Stamp at



Monday, Sept. 3: Registration, 5:00 p.m.  at Ron Ebbesen

Tuesday, Sept. 4: Try-Out, 8:30 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Thursday, Sept. 6: Try-Out, 9:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Friday, Sept. 7: Pre-Season Game (vs. Three Hills), 8:00 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Sunday, Sept. 9: Pre-Season Game (vs. Okotoks), 7 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Tuesday, Sept. 11: Try-Out, 8:45 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Thursday, Sept. 13: Try-Out, 8:45 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Friday, Sept. 14: Pre-Season Game (vs. Cochrane), 8 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen

Sunday, Sept. 15: Pre-Season Game (at Cochrane), 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 18: Pre-Season Game (at Blackfalds), 7:30 p.m.


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