By Matt Stefano
After going a perfect 2-0 against the Soo Eagles in preseason action, the defending James Aspin Trophy champion Soo Thunderbirds officially kicked off their 2019-2020 regular season against their cross-border rivals the Soo Eagles on Saturday night at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
The Thunderbirds opened up their 2019-2020 regular season with a win on Saturday night as they defeated the Soo Eagles by a score of 7-2.
“It’s always nice to get the monkey off the back early,” said Thunderbirds forward Matt Bazarin. “We gave it our all tonight as a team and played the system well. We got a lot of shots on net and made good things happen.”
Bazarin, who scored two goals, including one on the power play for the Thunderbirds, was also named the Subway first star of the game.
Not only did he (Matt Bazarin) get on the scoresheet with a pair of goals on Saturday night, but his younger brother Daniel also recorded a goal of his own for the Thunderbirds.
“It’s definelty special,” continued Matt Bazarin. “It’s nice to have my brother here. We’ve played together before and have good chemistry, so it’s nice to see we both scored tonight.”
The Thunderbirds also had some help offensively from one of their rookies on Saturday night, as first year forward Tyler Savard got on the scoresheet with a pair of assists.
Savard was also chosen by the Soo Greyhounds in the 11th round (220th overall) in this year’s OHL Priority Selection.
“Tyler is a very good player,” continued Bazarin. “He has speed and moves the puck well. He’s very smart and if he keeps working he’ll see his goal to make the Hounds very soon. But it’s nice to have him on the team and he did very well tonight.”
Thunderbirds forward Nick Smith had a power play goal and an assist while Richards Landing native Nolan Ford also got on the scoresheet with two assists.
Cooper Smyl (game winner), Avery Rebek (power play) and Brock Santa Maria had the other goals for the Thunderbirds while Jacob Kovacs and Will Josephson had an assist each.
Stephen Smoody (power play) and Blake Vaca had the goals for the Eagles while Hayden Clark, Kyle Quinn and Logan Eggleston had an assist each.
Eagles netminder Shane Brancato gave up 7 goals on 34 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds goaltender and assistant captain Colin Ahern made 26 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now get set to take on the Espaonola Expresss on Sunday night, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
“We have to sleep well, eat good and come out harder tommorow against Espanola,” concluded Bazarin.
(Photo of Matt Bazarin credit to Bob Davies)