By Matt Stefano
After defeating the Powassan Voodoos by a score of 5-2 this past Friday night in the Soo, and picking up their 30th victory of the season, the Soo Thunderbirds made the trip to Espanola on Sunday for a matinee game against the Express.
A four goal third period was the difference for the Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon, as they doubled up the Express by a score of 6-3 at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring just forty eight seconds into the first, courtesy of Nick Smith’s twenty second goal of the season from captain Kaidan McDonald and forward Spencer Van Tiem.
The Express would then respond on the power play at the 4:13 mark of the first, thanks to Lukas Lyszyk’s thirteenth goal of the season from Bret McInall and Hunter Halcrow.
With the teams tied 1-1 after twenty minutes, the Express continued to make their power play opportunities count in the second.
Express leading scorer Bret McInall put his club up 2-1 at the 4:13 mark of the second, scoring his twenty second goal of the season on the power play, with assists going to Diego Pasula and Lukas Lyszyk.
The Thunderbirds would then tie things up at two at the 7:45 mark of the second, courtesy of Oshawa Generals prospect Gage Stephney, who scored his ninth goal of the season from captain Kaidan McDonald and defenceman Max Techel.
With the teams tied 2-2 after forty minutes of play, it would then be all Thunderbirds in the final frame.
Thunderbirds defenceman Steven Bellini, who scored his seventh goal of the season against Powassan back on Friday night in the Soo, extended his goal streak to two games with his eighth of the season from Gage Stephney and Noah Boman at the 3:10 mark of the third, giving the Thunderbirds a 3-2 lead.
Another Thunderbirds blueliner would then get a goal just forty four seconds later, as defenceman Brady Caruso would score his second goal of the season from Noah Boman and Lucas Theriault, putting the Soo up by two.
Noah Boman would then put the Thunderbirds up 5-2 at the 8:58 mark of the third, scoring his twenty first goal of the season from Spencer Van Tiem.
The Express would then cut the Thunderbirds lead to 5-3 with 6:59 to go in the third, courtesy of Diego Pasula’s ninth goal of the season from Lukas Lyszyk and Bret McInall.
The line of Pasula, Lyszyk and McInall combined for eight points on Sunday afternoon.
Then, with just 1:48 left to go in regulation time, Gage Stephney became the fifth Thunderbird to hit double digit goals this season, scoring his tenth goal and second of the game from Tanner Mayne and Tristan Cicchello, making it a 6-3 game.
Express goaltender Andrew Rocha gave up six goals on forty two shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder William Anderson made twenty four saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds, who have now extended their winning streak to five games, will be back on John Rhodes ice on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Elliot Lake Wildcats.