I attended my first game of the season tonight; an NA3HL match up between the Pittsburgh Vengeance and the Metro Jets of Michigan. The NA3HL is a Tier III Junior A league in the United States. It is a good feeder for lower-level colleges and minor pro leagues. Everyone should give this highly exciting league a chance.
Opening night began with 2012-2013 league MVP and all-time Vengeance leading scorer, Nico Vecchio, having his jersey retired. Metro showed good sportsmanship by tapping their sticks in honor of Vecchio.
The first period did not consist of much besides a TJ Krajewski shot that took multiple deflections before trickling in the Vengeance net. Late in the second period, a Brad Hepler hooking penalty put the Vengeance on their fifth powerplay of the night. If the first four powerplays did not prove that the special teams needed work, the fifth certainly would. After Vengeance defenseman, Michael Straub, was not able to keep the puck inside of the Metro blue line, Alex Holm picked up the biscuit in full stride and put the puck over Vengeance goaltender Chase Stanford’s right pad.
The home crowd of 274 was now deflated heading into the final frame. The tone of the crowd (and team) would change after Nicholas Santiago converted a penalty shot just under ten minutes into the third period. The Vengeance were now on the attack and the tempo of the game increased. Oskar Thorsen brought the crowd to their feet with just under two minutes remaining in the game. The Norwegian defenseman fired an absolute laser from the point that clinked off of the far post and landed in the back of the net.
Thorsen would take a penalty after his stunning goal to hand Metro a powerplay in the overtime period. The Jets could not capitalize and the Vengeance took the upper hand in the sudden death session. However, they would not be awarded a goal for their efforts. The nerve wracking shootout would come next. Cody Jones would convert the first attempt for Metro with a shot over the shoulder of Stanford. In the third round, Cody Black was able to deke the Metro goaltender out of position to score for the Vengeance. The fourth round passed without a goal, but Zach MacKay angled a shot off of the post to give Metro the lead once more. Metro goaltender, Kameron Lindburg, sealed the victory for the Jets by stopping Tom Diffendal’s attempt.
Player of The Game: Oskar Thorsen
Thorsen played a solid defensive game and scored the game-tying goal with under two minutes to play. Scouts will definitely have their eye on the twenty year-old Norwegian defenseman throughout the year.