By Matt Stefano
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Espanola Express back on Wednesday night in the Soo, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on the road on Friday night in Elliot Lake to take on the last place Elliot Lake Wildcats.
Soo Junior Greyhounds forward and Great North Midget League’s leading goal scorer Michael Chaffay was also added to the Thunderbirds lineup for Friday night’s contest.
The Thunderbirds put up 11 goals for the third time this season and third time against Elliot Lake on Friday night as they hammered the Wildcats by a score of 11-3 at Centennial Arena.
Friday night’s game also saw a ton of players set milestones.
After having his eight game scoring streak snapped back on Wednesday night against Espanola, Thunderbirds forward Rylan Clemons got back on scoresheet on Friday night in Elliot Lake, as he recorded a natural hat trick and added two helpers for his first career five point game.
Two of Clemons goals also came on the man advantage.
Thunderbirds rookie forward and leading goal scorer Jake Kovacs also had a big night offensively, scoring his 20th goal of the season and setting up three others for his first career four point game.
Kovacs also became the first Thunderbird rookie to score 20 goals in a regular season since Anthony Miller did back in 2012-2013.
Added player Michael Chaffay had a three point night for the Thunderbirds, scoring his first career NOJHL goal and setting up two others.
Another player that had a milestone night for the Thunderbirds was newly acquired defenceman Jordan Broome.
Broome scored his first NOJHL goal and set up two others for a three point night while rookie forward Colton Hayes also had a three point game, scoring once and setting up two others.
Broome’s first NOJHL goal at the 6:44 mark of the second period turned out to be the game winner.
Rookie forwards Tyler Savard and Cooper Smyl both recorded hit the 10 goal plateau and set up another for the Thunderbirds while Mackenzie Walkington also had a two point night, scoring once and setting up another.
Kurtis Rogers also got on the scoresheet for the Soo, scoring one goal.
Cam Findlay, Will Josephson, Warner Young, Nolan Ford, Tristan Cicchello and newly acquired defenceman Jacob Boucha all chipped in with one assist each for the Thunderbirds.
Boucha’s assist also gave him his first point in a Thunderbird uniform.
Jonathan Giancotti scored once for the Wildcats on Friday night, giving him 10 goals on the season while Jordan Ritchie and Tysne Stranski each scored once.
Stranski’s goal at the 16:37 mark of the second period, turned out to be his first NOJHL tally.
Noah Bradburn recorded his first career NOJHL point and assist in just his second game played with the Wildcats on Friday night while Connor Taylor, Kelvin Albert, Nicholas Jameus, Jackson Grozelle and Robert Maulucci all chipped in with one assist each.
Wildcats goaltenders Jonathan Lemaire and William Heropoulas both saw action in net on Friday night.
Lemaire gave up 9 goals on 40 shots in the loss while Heropoulas only let in 2 goals on 24 shots.
Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Evola made 26 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will be back in action next Friday night, when they visit Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to take on the Soo Eagles.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Pullar Stadium.
(Photo by Bob Davies)