By Matt Stefano
After defeating the Espanola Express 11-2 this past Sunday afternoon at the John Rhodes Community Centre, the Soo Thunderbirds kicked off their three-game weekend on Friday night in Elliot Lake.
On Friday night, the line of Nick Smith (1g 2a), Mark Tassone (2g 0a) and Camaryn Baber (0g 2a) combined for 7 points as the Thunderbirds defeated the Elliot Lake Wildcats 4-3 at Centennial Arena.
Thunderbirds forward Nick Smith, who entered Friday night’s game with 30 goals on the season, scored his team leading 31st goal on the power play just 37 seconds into the second period.
Thunderbirds forward Spencer Van Tiem scored his first NOJHL goal at the 1:31 mark of the second period, which proved to be the game winner.
Van Tiem, a native of Birmingham, Michigan, entered Friday night’s game with one assist in four games since joining the Thunderbirds.
Bradon Caruso, Austin Heinrich, Lucas Theriault and Steven Bellini all had an assist each for the Thunderbirds.
Wildcats assistant captain Jacob Kelly had a pair of goals, including one on the power play while Andrew Malby found the back of the net once.
Wildcats assistant captain William Bucsis had three assists on the night, which extended his point streak to eight games.
David Elford and Ryan Burlington had one assist each for the Wildcats.
Thunderbirds goaltender Eric Schuch made 33 saves for the win while Wildcats goaltender Logan Sawka gave up 4 goals on 39 shots in the loss.
The Soo will be back in action on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. when they visit the Blind River Community Centre to take on the Blind River Beavers.
On Friday, the NOJHL announced a make-up date for the Soo Thunderbirds road game in French River that was supposed to be played on January 7th.
The game has been rescheduled for February 25th at 6:00 p.m. at Noelville Arena.
The game back on January 7th was postponed due to inclement whether and road closures.
(Photo of Spencer Van Tiem credit to Jim Egan)