First game of March kicks off tonight with the Birds and the Beavers

By Matt Stefano

Today is Wednesday, March 2 and it’s game day!

But not only is it just game day, it’s also the first game of the season that arena capacity crowds can officially return to 100%.

Tonight your Soo Thunderbirds will be back on John Rhodes ice (7:00 p.m.) as they will take on the Blind River Beavers, who will make their final visit to the Soo this season.

The Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with a record of 28 wins, 5 losses, 2 overtime losses and 3 shootout losses, good for 61 points and first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

The Birds have also given up the least goals against in the entire NOJHL, only letting in 87.

And a big reason for that has been because of the play of goaltenders Noah Zeppa and Noah Metivier.

The Beavers, meanwhile, are entering tonight’s game with a record of 20 wins, 12 losses, and 4 overtime losses, good for 44 points and third place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

The Thunderbirds are also entering tonight’s game on an 8-game winning streak, while the Beavers are coming in unbeaten in regulation in their last 8 games.


In six meetings against the Beavers this season, the Thunderbirds have defeated them 3 times and have lost to them 3 times, including once in overtime.

The Thunderbirds have also outscored the Beavers 21-17 overall.


The last time the Thunderbirds and the Beavers met was back on Wednesday, February 9, when the Thunderbirds defeated the Beavers by a score of 4-1 at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

That night, Thunderbirds leading scorer Cooper Foster led the way offensively with a power play goal and two assists while Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa made 18 saves for the victory.


Looking between the pipes now, it turns out the Thunderbirds have it made this season with two goaltenders named Noah!

Both Thunderbird goaltenders, Noah Zeppa and Noah Metivier, are currently in the top two among all NOJHL goaltenders in lowest goals against average.

Zeppa, who is entering tonight’s game with a 2.03 goals against average, currently has the lowest goals against average among all NOJHL goaltenders.

The 19-year-old goaltender was also named the NOJHL’s Goaltender Of The Month for February, after finishing off that month with a perfect 5-0 record.

In those 5 wins during the month February, Zeppa only surrendered 6 goals.

Metivier, who is entering tonight’s game with a 2.18 goals against average, currently has the second lowest goals against average among all NOJHL goaltenders.

The 18-year-old rookie netminder also made 27 saves in a 6-0 shutout victory over the French River Rapids back on Sunday afternoon in Noelville, Ontario.


When it comes to special teams, the Thunderbirds have so far had the most success in the league on the penalty kill.

The Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with the best penalty kill in the entire NOJHL, operating at 89.9%.

The Birds also went a perfect 26 for 26 on their penalty kill in their last 6 games.


Looking at veteran forwards now, it turns out that Soo Thunderbirds forward Cole Delarosbil is currently having his best season in the NOJHL.

And we mean points wise!

Delarosbil, who is entering tonight’s game with 10 points, has now set a career-high for most points in a regular season.

The most points Delarosbil has ever had in one season, was 9, which he put up back in the 2019-2020 season with the Espanola Express.

Delarosbil, who recorded one assist during Sunday afternoon’s 6-0 victory over French River, has given himself his career-high 10th point of the season.


And now to more accomplishments, another player who got recognition for the month of February from the Soo Thunderbirds, was Thunderbirds rookie forward Cooper Foster.

Foster, who is currently leading the Thunderbirds in scoring with 47 points, was named the NOJHL’s Rookie of the Month for February.

In 10 games during the month of February, the Ottawa 67’s prospect recorded 16 points, including 6 goals and 10 assists.

(Photo of Thunderbirds forward Ethan Novello credit to Bob Davies)

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