By Matt Stefano
The last time the Soo Thunderbirds and Elliot Lake Wildcats met was this past Sunday night when the two teams battled to a scoreless tie at the Essar Centre. But Friday night was a much different result in Elliot Lake as the T-Birds defeated the Wildcats by a score of 6-4 at Centennial Arena.
T-Birds forward Zach Senecal got the first goal of the game at 4:28 of the first, with his 24th of the season from Austin Kozluk and Matt Caruso.
Senecal’s 24th goal of the season, also tied T-Birds captain Matt Caruso for the team lead in goals.
At 11:55, it would be Curtis Rawn tying the game up for the Wildcats on the power play, with his 9th of the season from Brett Crook and David Elford.
Sean Emmerson, who was named first star of the game back on Wednesday night, scoring a goal and an assist against Blind River, scored his 5th goal of the season at 13:04 from Ryan Waterhouse and Matt Caruso, to put the Soo up 2-1.
Caruso’s second assist of the night on Emmerson’s goal, also gave the T-Birds captain 30 assists on the season and 150 career points.
Elliot Lake would tie the game with just 38 seconds to go in the first, courtesy of Brett Jacklin’s power play goal and 16th of the season from David Elford and Curtis Rawn.
After heading into the dressing rooms tied 2-2 after the first, it would be the T-Birds getting the only goals in the middle frame.
Defenceman Jake Behse’s 6th of goal of the season on the power play at 7:53, put the T-Birds back ahead for the third time of the night.
Greg Smith drew the only assist on Behse’s goal.
Gage Stephney would hit the 10 goal plateau at 14:20 from Noah Solinger and Nick Smith, which made the score 4-2 T-Birds heading into the third.
Elliot Lake would cut the T-Birds lead to 4-3 just 14 seconds into the third, courtesy of Brennan Kelly’s 7th from Troy Button.
Brennan Kelly would then get his second goal of the game at 5:56 from Jake Kelly and Evan Spencer, which tied the game up at four.
T-Birds assistant captain Ryan Mulligan notched his 4th goal of the season on the power play from Gage Stephney and Matt Caruso at 7:22, which put the T-Birds back ahead 5-4.
Then, with just 1:02 left to go in regulation time, it would be birthday boy Mark Tassone getting his 14th of the season into an empty net from Greg Smith, as the Soo went on to their 33rd win of the season.
Tassone’s 14th goal, also passed his career high for goals from one season ago, where he had 13.
T-Birds goaltender Brandon Gordon made 27 saves for a second straight game in Friday night’s victory while Justin Richer gave up 5 goals on 34 shots in the Wildcats loss.
Next up for the T-Birds is the Espanola Express on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. from the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
(Photo of Matt Caruso credit to Jim Egan)