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After nearly a month since opening the season at the Bauer Invitational Tournament in Chicago, the Montana Thunderblades U16 AA team will return to action today at the 39th Annual Mile High Thanksgiving Day Tournament.

“I was pleased with the way we played in Chicago,” said Thunderblades head coach Mark Loeding. “Some of those teams we played had about 20 games under their belt and that was our first weekend of competition.”

The defending national champion Thunderblades will meet the Foothills Flyers today at 1 p.m. before taking on the tournament's host team, the Littleton Hawks, at 6:15 p.m.

“We've had success at this tournament in years past,” Loeding said. “There is a lot of talent that will be on display down there and we need to just play solid hockey and not beat ourselves.”

After building a 2-0 lead heading into the third period of last year's title game, the Thunderblades came up short against the Colorado Thunderbirds, falling 3-2.

“We have the talent to get back there,” Loeding said. “But we can't assume we will make it (to the championship game) we have to take it one game at a time.”

Following today's games, the Thunderblades hit the ice Friday at 9:30 a.m. against the Rocky Mountain Roughriders AAA team before concluding round-robin play on Saturday with games at 7:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. against DU Jr. Pioneers AA and Arvada AA, respectively.

The top four teams in each division advance to Sunday's playoff-round.

Tournament scores and stats will be updated daily at

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