By Matt Stefano
Saturday night hockey takes place tonight at the John Rhodes as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on the Espanola Express for the first time this season, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The Thunderbirds (3-1) are entering tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak, following back to back victories against the Greater Sudbury Cubs this week.
The Express (2-4), meanwhile, are heading into tonight’s game in the opposite direction with two straight losses.
DELAROSBIL TAKES ON HIS OLD TEAM
Tonight’s game against Espanola will be a brand new experience for Thunderbirds forward Cole Delarosbil.
Delarosbil will face his former team tonight for the first time since coming over to the Thunderbirds in a trade from the Express this past offseason.
In two seasons played with the Express from 2019-2021, Delarosbil found the back of the net 11 times and set up 5 others in 38 games played.
Delarosbil, who will face his former team tonight for the first time since the trade, is still looking for his first point in a Soo Thunderbird uniform.
BEN IN THE BOX
So far this season, Espanola Express forward Ben Couvier has been spending a lot of time in the penalty box.
The Miniota, Manitoba native currently leads all NOJHL players in penalty minutes with 24.
TEAM IN THE BOX
When it comes to taking penalties, the Espanola Express have had more trouble staying out of the box than other team in the league.
The Express enter tonight’s game with a league-leading 101 penalty minutes.
BOY OH BOIVIN
Looking at minutes on the ice now, Express rookie netminder Patrick Boivin has played more minutes in net this season than any other goaltender in the NOJHL.
Despite having a record of 2 wins and 3 losses in 6 games played this season, Boivin still leads all NOJHL goaltenders in minutes played with 300.
JAMES ON BOARD
There is a new blueliner on board the Express!
Two weeks ago, the Espanola Express made a trade with the Yarmouth Mariners by acquiring defenceman Logan James in exchange for a player development fee.
In one game played with the Express so far, James has 0 points and 4 penalty minutes.
HELPING OUT ON THE PENALTY KILL
Despite being the most penalized team in the NOJHL, there is one player on Express who loves to play shorthanded.
And that player is rookie forward Kobe Braham!
Braham enters tonight’s game with a league-leading 2 shorthanded tallies on the season.
The 18-year-old, who has 2 goals and 1 assist in 6 games played so far, has yet to score a power play goal or an even-strength goal in his NOJHL career.
WESTLAKE VS LAKE ITSELF
When both the Express and the Thunderbirds take to the ice tonight at the John Rhodes, there will be two players on the ice who will have the word Lake on the back of their jerseys.
In tonight’s game, Express second-year forward Isaac Westlake will be up against Thunderbirds rookie forward Samuel Lake.
Westlake, who is in his second season with the Express, enters tonight’s game with 0 points and 2 penalty minutes in 5 games played.
In his rookie season with the Express last season, the Embro, Ontario native had 2 goals and 1 assist in 9 games played, before the remainder of their season got cancelled due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in the Greater Sudbury Area.
Lake, who is in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds, enters tonight’s contest with 4 goals and 5 points in 4 games played.
The 17-year-old forward is also currently tied for first in team scoring with forwards Brock Santa Maria and Colby Arbour.
SEE THE GAME ON THE VIDEO SCOREBOARD
If you are planning to attend tonight’s game at the John Rhodes, you can now watch the live hockeytv.com telecast of the Soo Thunderbirds game on the new video scoreboard which has just been installed inside the John Rhodes Arena.
All fans can now watch every home game on the new video scoreboard at the John Rhodes while also seeing the live game right in front of them on the ice.
(Photo of Thunderbirds defenceman Kaden Dundas credit to Bob Davies)