By Matt Stefano
Matinee action takes place today at the John Rhodes as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on the Greater Sudbury Cubs in game one of a home-and-home series beginning at 2:00 p.m.
This afternoon’s game will also be the Cubs first ever visit to Sault Ste. Marie.
The Thunderbirds are coming into this afternoon’s game with a record of one win and one loss, good for 2 points as they sit tied with the Soo Eagles for fifth 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 2.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are entering this afternoon’s game with a record of 3 wins and 1 loss, good for 6 points and first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.
Greater Sudbury is also coming in as the highest scoring team in the NOJHL’s West Division, with 17 goals.
BIRDS LEADING THE WAY
Entering this afternoon’s game, the Thunderbirds have two players that are currently tied for first in team scoring.
Second year forward Tyson Doucette and rookie forward Kenny Belanger Jr. are both leading the Birds in scoring with 3 points each.
Doucette, who enters this afternoon’s game with 3 goals, scored all three of his goals in the Thunderbirds season opening game in Blind River back on September 18.
Belanger, who has 1 goal and 2 assists in his first two NOJHL games played, picked up his third point (assist) of the season in Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Beavers at the John Rhodes.
SOUPY LEADING THE WAY
Since coming over to the Greater Sudbury Cubs in a trade from Kirkland Lake Gold Miners this past offseason, forward Kyler Campbell has been unstoppable.
In four games played with the Cubs this season, the 20-year-old forward has recorded at least one point in each game.
Campbell, who enters this afternoon’s game with 3 goals and 5 points, is also currently leading the Cubs in scoring.
NEW CUB IN THE CAVE
Back on Thursday, the Greater Sudbury Cubs continued to show interest in the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners as they acquired 20-year-old defenceman Seth Coulter in exchange for a player development fee.
Coulter, who is a native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, currently sits tied with Lucas Renzoni (Kirkland Lake Gold Miners) and Brandon Hass (French River Rapids) for the league-lead in points among NOJHL blueliners with 5.
WALKER THIS WAY
Sticking with trades, on September 18, the Greater Sudbury Cubs have also added a player upfront by acquiring forward Cameron Walker from the Espanola Express in exchange for a player development fee.
Walker, who is native of Sudbury, Ontario, currently sits second in Cubs scoring with 4 points in 3 games.
Last season, Walker was the top scorer on the Espnaola Express with 14 points in just 12 games played.
When it comes to taking penalties, Greater Sudbury Cubs defenceman Carter Geoffroy has been logging more minutes in the box than other blueliner.
Geoffroy currently leads all NOJHL blueliners in penalty minutes with 13.
RAINVILLE SHUTTING THE DOOR
So far this season, Cubs goaltender Joel Rainville has been great between the pipes.
The Sturgeon Falls, Ontario native currently leads all NOJHL goaltenders in shutouts with 2.
When it comes to playing shorthanded, the Thunderbirds have done an amazing job killing off penalties.
The Thunderbirds enter this afternoon’s game with the best penalty kill in the NOJHL’s West Division, operating at 25.0%.
LAKE SCORES AGAINST THE RIVER
Last Friday’s game against Blind River was a memorable one for Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward Samuel Lake.
The 17-year-old forward notched his first NOJHL goal in last Friday’s 2–1 loss to the Blind River Beavers at the John Rhodes.
Lake’s goal came at the 9:24 mark of the opening period from Colby Arbour and Kenny Belanger Jr., which at that time gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
(Photo credit to Bob Davies)