By Matt Stefano
After doubling up the Espanola Express by a score 6-3 this past Sunday afternoon in Espanola, and extending their winning streak to five games, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on John Rhodes ice on a snowy Tuesday evening in Sault Ste. Marie, as they took on the Elliot Lake Wildcats, who made their final visit to the Soo this season.
Not only were the Thunderbirds back on home ice on Tuesday night, but they also played their first game back at the John Rhodes after playing their first two home games of the month of January last Thursday and Friday at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
After trailing 2-0 halfway through the first period, the Thunderbirds came back to defeat the Wildcats by a score of 5-4 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
It was also the second straight home game that the Thunderbirds came back to defeat the opposing team when trailing 2-0.
“We had a five game winning streak coming in and we played a solid team game tonight to keep it alive,” said Thunderbirds rookie forward Cam Findlay. “I don’t think there’s too much panic. We’re a good team and when we continue with our systems, good things happen.”
Findlay, who entered Tuesday night’s game with 2 goals and 3 assists in 36 games this season, recorded his first career two-goal game against the Wildcats.
“It felt fantastic,” concluded Findlay. “I haven’t been able to put too many in the net all season, but tonight I was set up by some good teammates and I was able to capitalize on those.”
Defenceman Brady Caruso, who scored the game winning goal against Espanola back on Sunday afternoon, scored his second straight game winning goal for the Thunderbirds on Tuesday night along with adding an assist.
Caruso also became the first Thunderbird defenceman to score back to back game winning goals in a regular season since Tyler Jones did back in 2013-2014.
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan product Brendan Miller also had a big night offensively for the Thunderbirds, scoring once and setting up another.
Assistant captain Nick Smith had one goal for the Thunderbirds while Nate Medaglia, Tristan Cicchello, Avery Rebek, Noah Boman and Kaidan McDonald all chipped in with one assist each.
Wildcats forward Noah Minns led the way offensively for his club, scoring three times while Connor Taylor scored once on the power play.
Eric Conely had three assists for the Wilcats while Caleb Minns also had a big night offensively, setting up two goals.
Ryan Hempel and Mark Perone had the other assists for the Wildcats.
Wildcats goaltender Dominic Boily gave up five goals on forty one shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern made twenty three stops for the victory.
Next action for the Thunderbirds is this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Blind River Beavers at the John Rhodes.
All kids 12 years old and under get into Thunderbirds home games for free for the rest of the season, when with a paying adult or senior.
With the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings released, it was announced that former Soo Thunderbirds and current Guelph Storm forward Keegan Stevenson has made the list, coming in at 148.
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)