By Matt Stefano
After picking up a 4-2 win against the Blind River Beavers in game two of the COVID Cup series back on Thursday night at the John Rhodes, the Soo Thunderbirds were back in action on Saturday night for game three of the series at the Blind River Community Centre in Blind River.
Saturday night was also a milestone game for Blind River Beavers forward Justin Mauro.
Mauro, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, suited up for his 100th career regular season game.
Saturday night’s game also saw the return of Thunderbirds defenceman Warner Young, who was back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension.
Despite outshooting the Beavers 52-47 overall, the Thunderbirds fell in a shootout to Blind River by a score of 5-4.
Just 22 ticks into the opening period, it would be Beavers defenceman Ethan Pegg scoring his 3rd goal of the season from Sooite Nick Jameus, putting the home side up 1-0.
A power play goal by Thunderbirds forward Noah Boman at the 8:28 mark of the first period, would then tie things up at one.
Blueliners Connor Toms and Cam Dutkiewicz would draw the assists on what would also be Boman’s 4th goal of the season.
Just 5:06 after Noah Boman’s power play goal for the Thunderbirds, the Beavers would then get a power play tally from their very own Noah.
Noah Minns power play goal and 7th goal of the season at the 13:34 mark of the first period from Spencer Kennedy and Thomas Michaud, put the Beavers up 2-1 after twenty minutes of play.
The Thunderbirds would then tie the game at two just 32 ticks into the second, courtesy of Ty Zachary’s 4th goal of the season from Kurtis Rogers and Parker Morgan.
Then, at the 7:30 mark of the second period, it would be Beavers defenceman Ethan Pegg getting his second goal of the game and 4th goal of the season on the power play from Nick Jameus and Blake McNally, putting the home side up 3-2.
The Thunderbirds would then get a goal just 3:38 later, courtesy of Kurtis Rogers 2nd goal of the season from Andrew Malek, which tied the game up at three.
Rogers, who scored his 2nd goal of the season, also gave himself his second point of the night.
The 19 year old forward, who was coming off a two-point game back on Thursday night in the Soo, also recorded back to back multi point games for the first time in his NOJHL career.
The Soo would then take the lead with just 5:19 left to go in the middle frame, courtesy of Noah Boman’s second goal of the game and 5th goal of the season from Dylan Parsons, putting the Soo up 4-3 after two periods of play.
With the Thunderbirds leading 4-3 with under halfway to go in the third period, it would then be Beavers rookie forward Devin Mauro getting his 6th goal of the season from Jacob Kelly and Justin Mauro at 11:08, tying the game up at four.
Mauro, who also recorded his 17th point of the season, moved into sole possession of first among NOJHL rookies in scoring.
With the game tied 4-4 after sixty minutes of play, a shootout was then needed to decide the winner.
Devin Mauro’s goal in the third round of the shootout would prove to be the game-winner as he helped the hometown Beavers to a 5-4 shootout win in game three of the COVID Cup series.
Thunderbirds goaltender Alex Bugeja made 42 saves in the loss while Beavers netminder and Sooite Gavin Disano turned aside 48 shots.
The Thunderbirds will now be back in action for game four of the COVID Cup series on Sunday afternoon at the Blind River Community Centre, beginning at 4:00 p.m.
(Photo credit to Bob Davies)