THUNDER faced another tough weekend with games against their local rivals Oxford City Stars and current league champions Invicta Dynamos.
City Stars arrived in the city on Saturday with a good record over Thunder and would expected to have to work hard, but ultimately take the points - they were in for a surprise though.
Thunder took the game to the visitors from the first drop of the puck, outshooting them by 17-4 in the opening period. So it was somewhat of a surprise that the scores were level at 1-1 by the first break despite the overwhelming dominance Thunder had enjoyed.
Maros Stefanco got Thunder off the mark with a goal mid-way through the period, finishing off a move involving Jamie Randall and Lee Featherstone, but Oxford hit back with a Dax Hedges goal.
Thunder then went through one of their dodgy second periods - a dip in intensity that’s happened all too often this season, and let Oxford get a foothold in the game.
Although possession and shots were shared equally between the teams in this period, Thunder took the lead and extended it to 3-1 by the mid-point. Man of the match Ross Bowers scored the go-ahead goal, followed by an Aram Todd powerplay goal from the blueline.
With the pattern of play swinging from one end to the other, it was the visitors who next found the net - Michael Whillock scoring to pull City Stars back to within one goal.
Holding a slender 3-2 advantage, the hosts snapped out of their second period blues and put in an assured performance for the final 20 minutes, restricting Oxford to just five shots while peppering Lindva in the Oxford goal with 13.
Two more powerplay goals from Bowers then made sure of the win for Thunder as they completely controlled the final period with a frustrated City Stars unable to find any answers as the city side moved into the play-off places for the first time this season.
The trip to Gillingham on Sunday to take on Invicta Dynamos was always going to be bring a tough day at the office, and so it proved as Thunder were thumped 10-1.
They weren’t helped by being three men light from the previous day’s win, and when Bowers was injured in the warm-up, Thunder probably knew it wasn’t their day.
The hosts raced into a 2-0 first session lead before David Coffey got Thunder back in it. That was as close as the visitors would get though and four goals inside eight minutes killed the contest and the final session only saw Dynamos extended their lead.