Brandinger leads Eagles past Thunderbirds

By Matt Stefano

After dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to the Elliot Lake Wildcats back on Wednesday night in Elliot Lake, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on home ice on Saturday night for a matchup against their cross-border rivals, the Soo Eagles.

Saturday night’s game also marked the NOJHL debut of goaltender Gabe Rosek, who got the start in net for the Eagles.

The Thunderbirds ended up dropping their second straight game on Saturday night as they fell by a score of 6-3 to the Eagles at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

Grand Rapids, Michigan native Joel Brandinger led the way offensively for the Eagles with two goals and one assist.

Brandinger, who scored a power play goal and a shorthanded goal on Saturday night, became the first Soo Eagle to score a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the same game since Kelly Tharaldson did back on October 28th, 2017.

George Orfanos scored once and set up another for the Eagles while Hayden Clark and Caleb Wood chipped in with two assists each.

Chase Tallaire (power play), Bobby Price and Jake Lamberty had the other goals for the Eagles while Praveen Dhaliwal, Eric Vanderhoff, Brice French and Dominic Skrelja all had one assist each.

Eagles forward John McLaughlin had a penalty shot at the 16:27 mark of the second period, but did not score.

Colton Hayes, Rylan Clemons and Will Josephson had the goals for the Thunderbirds while Jake Kovacs, Cooper Smyl, Tristan Cicchello and Brock Santa Maria all chipped in with one assist each.

Thunderbirds goaltender Dakota Meyer gave up 4 goals on 18 shots before being replaced in net by Sam Evola, who then gave up 2 goals on 20 shots the rest of the way.

East Lansing, Michigan native Gabe Rosek, who made his NOJHL debut, made 36 saves in net for the Eagles.

The Thunderbirds will now play their final afternoon game of their 2019-2020 regular season on Sunday, when they visit Espanola for a 4:00 p.m. matchup against the Express.

(Photo credit to Bob Davies)

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