Birds vs Rapids today at 4:15 p.m.

By Matt Stefano

It’s been 791 days since these two teams last met, but now they will finally meet each other again this afternoon!

Saturday afternoon hockey takes place today at the John Rhodes Community Centre as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on the French River Rapids, beginning at 4:15 p.m.

The Thunderbirds are entering this afternoon’s with a record of 21 wins, 5 losses, 2 overtime losses and 3 shootout losses, good for 47 points and first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

The Soo is also coming off a 4-1 victory over the Blind River Beavers back on Wednesday night, in a game that took place at the John Rhodes.

The Rapids, meanwhile, are entering this afternoon’s game with a record of 17 wins, 16 losses and 1 overtime loss, good for 35 points and fourth place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings.

French River is also entering this afternoon’s game on a 5-game losing streak.


The last time the Thunderbirds and the Rapids met was back on December 14, 2019, when the Thunderbirds defeated the Rapids by a score of 2-1 in overtime at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

That night, forward Cooper Smyl ended up being the hero with just 11 seconds to go in overtime while goaltender Sam Evola made 26 saves for the victory.


Since coming into the NOJHL in 2015, the French River Rapids have never had a season where they finished above the .500 mark.

But when you look at what the Rapids have done so far this season, it actually turns out that they are having their best season in franchise history!

The Rapids, who have 17 wins this season, have already set their franchise record for most wins a regular season, breaking their previous record of 14, which they had during the 2018-2019 season.

Back in the 2018-2019 season, the Rapids finished off with a record of 14 wins, 39 losses, 2 overtime losses and 1 shootout loss, good for only 31 points.

The Rapids, who are also entering tonight’s game with 35 points, have also set their franchise record for most points in a regular season, passing their previous record with 31.


So far this season, French River Rapids rookie forward Dominik Godin has turned out to be a standout in the NOJHL.

Entering tonight’s game, Godin currently leads the Rapids in goals with 21 and currently sits tied for the team lead in power play goals with 5.

Before entering the NOJHL as a 17-year-old, the Alban, Ontario native spent the 2020-2021 season with the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves in the Great North Under-18 Hockey League.

Godin, who just turned 18-years-old back on January 23, was also named the NOJHL’s Rookie of the Month back in October.


When it comes to taking penalties, Rapids defenceman Griffin Simpson has had more trouble staying out of the box than any other player on his team.

Simpson, who is currently in his fifth and final season with the Rapids, enters tonight’s game with a team-leading 34 penalty minutes.

The fifth-year blueliner is also the Rapids all-time leader in games played by a defenceman with 159.


This afternoon’s game between the Rapids and the Thunderbirds will feature two Coopers going head to head, including Cooper Bowman (Rapids) and Cooper Foster (Thunderbirds).

Bowman, who is a 2001-birth-year forward, is currently leading the Rapids in scoring with 43 points, including 18 goals and 25 assists in 34 games played.

The 20-year-old also picked up an assist for the Rapids in their 9-3 loss to the Soo Eagles back on Thursday night in Soo Michigan.

Foster, who is a 2005-birth-year forward, is currently leading the Thunderbirds in scoring with 37 points, including 10 goals and 27 assists in just 23 games played.

The 16-year-old forward also recorded a power play goal and an two assists for the Thunderbirds in their 4-1 victory over the Blind River Beavers back on Wednesday night in the Soo.

Foster’s power play goal back on Wednesday night also turned out to be the Thunderbirds YouTube Hightlight Of The Night:

(Photo of Thunderbirds forward Alfred Rotiroti credit to Bob Davies)

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