First period power play goals lift Thunderbirds to win over Powassan

By Matt Stefano

A pair of power play goals in the first period helped the Soo Thunderbirds come out with another big two points on Saturday night.

The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead after the first period, thanks to power play goals by Cooper Foster and Kelsey Ouellet, before going on to defeat the Powassan Voodoos by a score of 3-1 at the Powassan Sportsplex in Powassan.

“We talked about keeping it simple on the PP and getting bodies to the net tonight, and both of the goals in the first period were a result of that,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “It was also nice to get off to a quick start in a big game.”

The Thunderbirds, who defeated the Powassan Voodoos 3-1 on Saturday night, were also coming off a 3-1 win over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners one night ago (Friday) in Kirkland Lake.

Prior to that, the Thunderbirds also defeated the Espanola Express 4-1 back on Sunday afternoon in Espanola.

So when you look at the Thunderbirds road trip so far, they have only given up 3 goals in 3 games.

“Our goaltending has been really solid all month,” Jarrett said. “Zeppa and Metivier have been on and leading the way with their effort every game. We have also done a good job of committing as a group to playing a solid defensive game from start to finish no matter what the score.”

On Saturday night, Thunderbirds rookie forward Kelsey Ouellet led the way offensively with a power play goal and two helpers, good for his second three-point game of the season.

Ouellet’s power play goal came at the 15:26 mark of the first period, which turned out to be game-winner.

“To record my second three-point game of the season is a great feeling, and ofcourse scoring the game-winning goal on the power play,” Ouellet said. “But what made it even better, was that we beat the Voodoos in their own barn to continue our hot streak.”

Andrew Gibson and Brock Santa Maria drew the assists on what would be Ouellet’s 11th goal of the season.

The Thunderbirds opened the scoring at the 10:06 mark of the first period, courtesy of Cooper Foster’s 13th goal of the season on the power play from Kelsey Ouellet and Brock Santa Maria, which put the Soo up 1-0.

Foster, who opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night, also moved into a tie for the league lead in opening goals of a game with 6, joining Cooper Bowman (French River Rapids) and Raphael Lajeunesse (Hearst Lumberjacks).

With the Thunderbirds leading the Voodoos 2-0 after the first period, it would then be the Voodoos getting on the board early in the second, courtesy of Finn Acton-Rinaldo’s 3rd goal of the season at 2:53 from Owen Ferguson and Easton Robitaille, which cut the Thunderbirds lead to 2-1 heading into the third.

Then, just 29 ticks into the third period, it would be Thunderbirds leading scorer Cooper Foster getting his second goal of the night and 14th goal of the season from Michael Chaffay and Kelsey Ouellet, which made the score 3-1 for the Soo.

Voodoos netminder and former Soo Thunderbird Alex Bugeja gave up 3 goals on 30 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa made 15 saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., when they visit Noelville to take on the French River Rapids at Noelville Community Centre.

Sunday afternoon’s game will also be the Thunderbirds fourth game of their four-game road trip.

“We started with the goal of getting 8 out of 8 points on this trip, and now we have to set ourselves up to achieve that goal,” Jarrett said. “The boys are excited for the opportunity to finish off the weekend, so I expect an energetic group.”


During Saturday night’s game in Powassan, Thunderbirds rookie defenceman and Soo Greyhounds prospect Andrew Gibson recorded his 40th point of the season, getting an assist on Kelsey Ouellet’s game-winning goal at the 15:26 mark of the first period.

Gibson, who recorded his 40th point on Saturday, became the first defenceman in the NOJHL to hit the 40-point plateau this season.

The 17-year-old also became the first rookie blueliner to have a 40-point season in the NOJHL since Phil Caron (Iroquois Falls Eskis) did back in 2016-2017.

(Photo credit to Bob Davies)



WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin