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Thunderbirds end preseason with 1-1 record

By Matt Stefano

After opening up the 2017 preseason with a 4-3 win over the Soo Eagles Friday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to go two for two against the Eagles Saturday night at Pullar Stadium.

Preseason action wrapped up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night, but this time they would fall by a score of 5-3 to the Soo Eagles.

The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 1:30 into the first period, as Braden Robbins tallied his first of the preseason from Alex Acosta.

The Eagles would then tie the game courtesy of George Orfanos goal at 3:02 from Mikey Butcher and Justin Weinbrenner.

Then, just 42 seconds later, the home team Soo Eagles would take a 2-1 lead courtesy of Kyle Quinn’s goal from Chris Banser and George Orfanos.

Kaiden McDonald, who found the back of the net five times during the 2016-2017 season, would get his first goal of the preseason on the power play at 15:59 from Ryan Mulligan and Tristan Cicchelo, which tied the game up at two after one period of play.

The Eagles would regain the lead just 1:00 into the second courtesy of Nick Tichel’s goal from Christen Bardarsen and Kobe Keller.

A shorthanded goal by Mihali See would make it a 4-2 lead for the Eagles just 3:51 later with Jake Saxton picking up the lone assist.

The Thunderbirds trailed by two goals heading into the final frame.

Owen Kipke’s goal just 17 seconds into the third, put the Eagles up by three.

Nick Tichel and Kobe Keller would draw the assists on Kipke’s tally.

Brendan Miller, who scored a goal for the Thunderbirds in their 4-3 win over the Eagles on Friday night, would get his second goal of the preseason just 1:06 later from second year forward Noah Solinger, to cut the Eagles lead to 5-3.

Rookie goalie Eric Schuch gave up 5 goals on 51 shots in the Thunderbirds loss while Carter McPhail, who started in goal for the Eagles, stopped 20 of 22 shots for the win.

John Massara, who got the call between the pipes for the Eagles in the third period, gave up 1 goal on 5 shots the rest of the way.

With the loss, the Thunderbirds have now ended the 2017 preseason with a 1-1 record.

In the preseason, the Thunderbirds were led in goals by rookie forward and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan native Brendan Miller and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario product Avery Rebek, who both had two apiece.

Ryan Mulligan, who is entering his third season with the Thunderbirds, led the Thunderbirds in assists (3) and points (3) during the 2017 preseason.

The Thunderbirds will now get set to open their 2017-2018 regular season on Friday, September 8th, when they travel to Hearst to take on the Lumberjacks.

Puck drop is 7:00 p.m. from the Claude Larose Arena.

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