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Heartbreaking loss for Thunderbirds

By Matt Stefano

On Friday night, the Soo Thunderbirds played their first of a final two games before the Christmas break and the New Year as they took on the Blind River Beavers at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

The Thunderbirds, who entered Friday night’s contest with 9 straight wins, were also looking to extend their winning streak to double digits.

The Soo scored three goals in the first period for the second straight game, but ended up falling by a score of 5-4 to the Blind River Beavers.

“We just fell apart at the end,” said Thunderbirds forward Nick Smith, who scored one goal and added two assists. “We played way too passive and it came to haunt us. They got two late goals in the last five minutes of the game and it shouldn’t have happened.”

In five meetings against the Beavers this season, the Thunderbirds now have 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 overtime loss.

“It’s been going pretty good,” continued Smith. “Blind River is a good team, so it’s always nice to produce against them. But hopefully we can do well going forward.”

Smith played on a line with rookie forward Camaryn Baber, who opened the game with a shorthanded goal at the 2:00 mark of the first period and added an assist on Nick Smith’s 24th goal of the season at the 6:14 mark of the third period, which put the Soo up 4-3.

Baber also moved into a tie with Noah Solinger for the team lead in shorthanded goals (2).

“It’s good playing with him (Baber),” concluded Smith. “He’s always in the right places. Him and Mark Tassone are good at getting me the puck and we just match well together.”

Mark Tassone (power play) and Alex Acosta had a goal each for the Thunderbirds while Lucas Theriault, Steven Bellini and Kaidan McDonald all had an assist each.

Dylan McMahon had a pair of goals, including one power play tally for the Beavers.

Beavers captain Caleb Serre also had a two point night with a power play goal and an assist.

Serre’s power play goal at the 19:27 mark of the third period, proved to be the game winner.

Owen Robinson and Jack Rudin had the other goals for the Beavers.

Steven Khull and Jack Sampson had a pair of assists each while Josh Norman, Ryan Nielsen and Michael Corson all had an assist each.

Brandon Gordon gave up 5 goals on 35 shots in the Thunderbirds loss while Beavers goaltender Michael Corson made 30 saves for the win.

The Thunderbirds will now play their final game before the Christmas break and the new year on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. against the French River Rapids at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)

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