Game preview: Thunderbirds play rematch against Red Wings

By Matt Stefano

Friday night hockey takes place tonight at the John Rhodes Community Centre as your Soo Thunderbirds will have their second straight meeting against the Elliot Lake Red Wings, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Thunderbirds, who are entering tonight’s game sitting in first place in the NOJHL’s West Division, are also coming off a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings back on October 30 in Elliot Lake.


In three meetings against the Red Wings this season, the Thunderbirds have beaten them all three times and have outscored them 17-7 overall.

During this series, Thunderbirds defenceman Andrew Gibson has led the way in scoring with 10 points, including 5 goals and 5 assists.


So far this season, Red Wings assistant captain Josh Tomasi has been has been putting up some good numbers.

Tomasi, who is in his first season in the NOJHL, is currently leading the Red Wings in scoring with 13 points in 16 games played.

The Middleburg Heights, Ohio native is also tied with Blind River Beavers forward Hunter Berry for first among American-born players in league scoring.


The month of October has been a great month for Thunderbirds rookie netminder Noah “Tives” Metiver.

In six games played during the month of October, Tives had a record of 5 wins, 0 losses and 1 overtime loss.

Metiver, who was named the NOJHL’s Goaltender of the Month for October, is also entering tonight’s game with the league’s best save percentage (.944%) and the league’s lowest goals against average (.173).


On Wednesday, the Elliot Lake Red Wings have added another big defenceman to their blueline, as they acquired 2002-birth-year blueliner Parker Banks from the CCHL’s Renfrew Wolves in exchange for a player development fee.

Banks, who stands 6’5 and weighs 210 pounds, played four games with the Wolves this season, where he recorded 0 goals and 0 assists.

The 19-year-old defenceman is also a native of Carleton, Michigan.


When it comes to setting up goals, Thunderbirds rookie forward Cooper Foster has been the best man for the job!

Foster currently leads all Thunderbird players in assists with 11.

His 11 assists are also the most among all NOJHL rookies.

Foster, who is a 2021 second round pick of the Ottawa 67’s, has also been dangerous on the power play this season, as he leads all NOJHL players in power play assists with 8.


Sticking with rookies, Thunderbirds defenceman and Soo Greyhounds prospect Andrew Gibson has been putting up some good numbers here in his first season in the NOJHL.

Gibson, who is a 2021 4th round pick of the Soo Greyhounds, is currenlty leading all NOJHL rookie blueliners in points with 12.

The Windsor, Ontario native is also leading all NOJHL defencemen in goals with 6.


Looking at special teams now, the Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with the best penalty kill in the entire NOJHL, operating at 89.1%.

The Thunderbirds, who have the league’s best penalty kill, also went a perfect 3 for 3 on their penalty kill in their 4-1 victory in Elliot Lake back on October 30.


Sticking with special teams, the Thunderbirds have also been having a lot of fun this season on their power play.

The Thunderbirds currently lead the NOJHL in power play goals with 21.

Six of those power play tallies have also come off the stick of Thunderbirds leading scorer Tyson Doucette.


This week, the Soo Thunderbirds have jumped up quite a few sports in the CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings.

After being ranked No. 18 in the nation one week ago, the Soo has now moved up five spots this week and are currently ranked No. 13.

(Photo of Thunderbirds forward Kelsey Ouellet credit to Matt Stefano)




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