Thunder advance to conference finals

Noah McLaughlin, Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, April 26th, the Bloomington Thunder advanced to the USHL Clark Cup Eastern Conference finals after defeating the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 5-2.

The Thunder will now go on to play the Dubuque Fighting Saints and the winner of that series will play in the USHL Clark Cup Finals.

The Thunder defeated the RoughRiders on Tuesday in a sudden death game 5 that was a close match up until the last few minutes of the game when the Thunder sealed the victory by scoring 2 empty net goals.

Tension was very high for the majority of the game, while the Thunder and Cedar Rapids went back and forth scoring goals leaving the score at 2-2 through 2 periods. Thunder forward Brogan Rafferty scored the eventual game winning goal that led the team to the conference finals.

Thunder fan Bill Kemp exclaimed his excitement for the team by stating, “I was so excited for the Thunder players when I saw that they won in Cedar Rapids. I hope that they continue to be successful and that they win the Clark Cup this year.”

The postseason has only just begun though for the Central Illinois Tier-1 hockey team as they have 2 more playoff series to win before they could call themselves the 2015-2016 USHL Clark Cup Champions.

Thunder forward Vladislav Dzhioshvili mentioned his team’s determination by saying, “We are all really proud of ourselves for winning this series against Cedar Rapids but now we are putting our focus on this next series in Dubuque.”

The Eastern Conference finals begin on Friday, April 29th, in Dubuque, Iowa. The Dubuque Fighting Saints finished just 2 points ahead of the Thunder in the standings, but those points are what gives Dubuque home ice advantage for this playoff series.

Games 3 and 4, if necessary, will take place at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum on May 6th and 7th where they hope to come home to large crowds for the fan support that they need to continue their playoff success.

Bloomington Thunder celebrate their success during their playoff series against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.