By Matt Stefano
After dropping a 5-2 decision to the Soo Eagles back on Wednesday night in Soo Michigan, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to get back on the winning track on Friday night as they made a visit to Elliot Lake to take on the Elliot Lake Red Wings.
Friday night’s game in Elliot Lake also marked the debut of Thunderbirds newly acquired forward Justin Mauro, who suited up in his first game with the Thunderbirds after being picked up by them in a trade from the CCHL’s Navan Grads back on Thursday.
The Soo Thunderbirds picked up their 3rd shutout win of the season on Friday night as they blanked the Elliot Lake Red Wings by a score of 2-0 at Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake.
“I liked our response tonight after our effort back on Wednesday night in Soo Michigan,” said Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “
On Friday night, Thunderbirds rookie goaltender and North Bay Battalion 2021 15th round pick Kolton Bourret made 34 saves for his first career NOJHL shutout.
The Thunder Bay, Ontario native was also named first star of the game.
“Kolton was our best player tonight and everyone was excited for him once he got his first career shutout,” Jarrett said.
“It felt great to get my first junior hockey shutout tonight,” added Thunderbirds goaltender Kolton Bourret. “The team played great in front of me and they really made my job easy for the most part. We have also been playing great these past few weeks and I just want to do everything I can to help the team win every game.”
The T-Birds took a 1-0 lead almost eight minutes into the first period, as forward Youssef Chaouachi notched his 6th goal of the season from Brodie McConnell-Barker at 7:57.
Newly acquired forward Justin Mauro would then notch his first goal as a member of the T-Birds just 47 seconds into the third from Dharan Cap and Michael Chaffay, which put the T-Birds up by two.
Mauro, who scored his first goal as a T-Bird on Friday night, also gave himself his first goal in just his first game played with his hometown team.
“Anyway I can help these guys secure the win is a great feeling,” said Thunderbirds newly acquired forward Justin Mauro, who scored in his debut with the Thunderbirds on Friday night. “It’s nice to get the first goal out of the way early.”
“Justin played really well tonight considering he was coming into a brand new group and starting with a new game,” Jarrett added. “Justin was able to grasp our concepts quickly and he got rewarded with a nice goal off a really good entry.”
Red Wings goaltender Cameron Smith gave up 2 goals on 37 shots in the loss.
With the win, the T-Birds have improved their record to 14 wins, 8 losses, 2 overtime losses and 1 shootout loss, good for 31 points and remain in 3rd place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.
The Thunderbirds will now be back in action tonight (Saturday) at 7:00 p.m., when they will return to the John Rhodes Community Centre to take on the Greater Sudbury Cubs, who are currently the top team in the NOJHL.
(Photo of Thunderbirds goaltender Kolton Bourret credit to Bob Davies)