One game away from a berth in the Allan Cup final, the heavily favoured Thunder threw it all away with a series of meathead penalties in the first period, spotting the Thunder Bay Bombers three quick power play goals in a stunning 7-5 loss.
They were so hopelessly outwitted it was painful to watch -- although the sold-out Lloydminster Civic Centre delighted in watching Theo Fleury and Company come so terribly unglued.
"Remember 1980, the Miracle on Ice?," said Fleury, who teamed up with Sasha Lakovic to vent their spleens in a nine-minute post-game rant. "(Stuff) happens. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. You have to give the other team credit."
That was about as gracious in defeat as they'd get.
"Every single ticket for this event was sold out. Why, because of the Horse Lake Thunder," said Fleury. "Not because of the Thunder Bay Bombers or the Lloydminster whatever they call themselves. It was because Horse Lake was here."
Actually, the thing was sold out before Horse Lake qualified, but you never stop a guy when he's rolling.
"The only reason this tournament sold out was because of yours truly right here," continued Fleury. "We all know it and I'm going to say it: Once again Theo Fleury puts hockey on the map when it needs it the most."