Fast start and strong finish leads to another victory

By Matt Stefano

They started fast.

They finished strong.

And in the end, they came out with another big two points.

On Saturday night, the Soo Thunderbirds jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening five minutes of the game, before having to kill off four penalties in the final thirteen minutes of the third, as they went on to edge the Soo Eagles by a score of 3-2 at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The win also extended the Thunderbirds winning streak to three games.

“Tonight was a battle and it’s always a battle whenever we play against the Eagles,” said Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward Jackson Truchan. “Tonight we all just came together and we found what we needed to get another win.”

“Our guys did a great job on the penalty kill in the third period to keep the lead,” added Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “We stayed focused and battled hard until the end despite being down three defencemen at times.”

Following Saturday night’s game, Jarrett also gave credit defenceman Austin Fellinger and goaltender Kolton Bourret for their strong efforts.

“Fellinger and Bourret led the way tonight with their compete level, especially late in the game, and the rest of the team fed off of that,” Jarrett said.

The Thunderbirds opened the scoring just over two minutes into the first period, as forward Alex Remenda notched his 2nd goal of the season from Michael Chaffay and Daniel Beaupre at 2:04, which gave the Thunderbirds an early 1-0 lead.

Remenda, who opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night, also scored on the Thunderbirds first shot on net.

The Thunderbirds would then get a two-goal cushion just 2:19 later, as rookie forward Jackson Truchan would notch his 20th goal of the season from Dharan Cap and Austin Fellinger, which gave the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead heading into the second.

Truchan, who scored his 20th goal on Saturday night, also became the first rookie in the NOJHL to hit the 20-goal plateau this season.

“It’s an honour right now and I can’t believe it really,” said Truchan, who scored his 20th goal of the season on Saturday night, following his two-goal performance back on Friday night in Elliot Lake. “It’s good news to know, but it’s my teammates who have been helping me get these goals these last couple games.”

“Truchan has a knack for scoring goals and he really showed it these past two nights (Friday and Saturday),” Jarrett added. “He was on the receiving end on a couple of really nice plays and he made the most of them.”

With the Thunderbirds leading the Eagles 2-0 almost halfway through the game, the Eagles would then cut the Thunderbirds lead to 2-1 at the 9:03 mark of the second, courtesy of Chase Tallaire’s 13th goal of the season from Caleb Cordas.

Cordas, who drew an assist on Tallaire’s tally, also gave himself his first career NOJHL point in just his third NOJHL game.

With the Thunderbirds leading the Eagles 2-1 with almost three-and-a-half minutes left to go in the second, it would then be Thunderbirds defenceman Ranon Joseph getting his 3rd goal of the season from Brock Santa Maria at 16:25, which gave the Thunderbirds a 3-1 lead heading into the third.

Joseph, who scored his 3rd goal of the season, also gave himself his 13th point in just his seventh game played this season with the Thunderbirds.

With the Eagles on a power play almost seven minutes into the third, it would then be former Soo Thunderbird forward Kenny Belanger getting his 19th goal of the season from Isaiah Gagerman and Jack Mortson at 6:43, which cut the Thunderbirds lead to 3-2.

Following Belanger’s power play goal, the Thunderbirds then killed off another four penalties that were called to them in the final thirteen minutes of the game.

“We need to be more disciplined and we can’t be taking those penalties, but we still battled hard and got the job done,” Jarrett said.

Eagles goaltender Logan Raffaele gave up 3 goals on 37 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Kolton Bourret made 19 saves for the victory.

With the win, the Thunderbirds have now improved their record to 27-10-2-1, and now have a three-point-lead over the Blind River Beavers for second place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

Next action for the Thunderbirds will be on Friday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m, when they will take on the Elliot Lake Red Wings at the John Rhodes.

(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward Jackson Truchan credit to Matt Stefano)

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