Caruso leads Thunderbirds past Express

By Matt Stefano

After getting shutout by the Soo Eagles 3-0 on Saturday night and having their five game unbeaten streak snapped, the Soo Thunderbirds concluded their three game weekend on Sunday afternoon as they took on the last place Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

Sunday afternoon’s game was a one sided matchup as the Thunderbirds defeated the Espanola Express 11-2.

“It was a great win for the team, especially after a tough loss on Saturday,” said Thunderbirds defenceman Bradon Caruso. “It’s good to get back in the win column and we’re going to move on to the next one.”

Caruso scored twice and set up two others for his first career four point game.

“It was definitely a fun afternoon,” continued Caruso. “My teammates definitely helped me out and things seemed to be going right for me and it was a positive afternoon for myself.”

Second year forward Nick Smith opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds with his 30th goal of the season just 53 seconds into the game, making him the first player in the NOJHL to hit the 30 goal plateau this season.

Smith also set up another for a two point afternoon.

“Nick has been great the whole year,” concluded Caruso. “He’s been scoring like a machine for us and he’s been helping us win games, so hopefully he can keep it up for the rest of the season.”

Alex Acosta, Lucas Theriault and Brendan Miller had a goal and two assists each while Camaryn Baber and Noah Solinger set up three goals each.

Steven Bellini, who is the top scoring defenceman on the Thunderbirds, set up two goals on the afternoon, giving him 20 assists on the season.

Tyler Malpass chipped in with a goal and an assist while Austin Heinrich and Kaidan McDonald found the back of the net once.

Mark Tassone scored a pair of goals for the Soo while newly signed forward Spencer Van Tiem recorded his first career NOJHL point, setting up one goal.

Henry Laukkanen and Logan Fennema had the goals for the Express while Tyler Bourassa and Jackson Thomas had an assist each.

Express goaltender Ryan Hale gave up 8 goals on 22 shots before being replaced in net by Adam Scott, who then gave up 3 goals on 22 shots the rest of the way.

Thunderbirds goaltender Brandon Gordon made 17 stops for the win.

The Soo will now be in Elliot Lake this Friday to take on the Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Arena.

(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)

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