By Matt Stefano
There will be two Birds battling out this afternoon in Sault, Ontario as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on their cross-border rivals, the Soo Eagles at the John Rhodes Community Centre, beginning at 2:00 p.m.
The Thunderbirds are entering this afternoon’s game with a record of 7 wins, 1 loss and 1 shootout loss, good for 15 points while the Eagles are coming in with a record of 6 wins, 2 losses and 1 overtime loss, good for 13 points.
This will also be the second meeting of the season between these two teams.
1-0 AGAINST THE EAGLES
In their first meeting of the season back on October 8, the Thunderbirds defeated the Eagles by a score of 4-3 in overtime at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
That game, Thunderbirds forward Michael Chaffay led the way offensively with a goal and two helpers while defenceman Kaden Dundas scored the overtime goal on the power play and set up another for a multi-point game of his own.
Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa made 22 saves that night for his fourth victory between the pipes.
SULLY VS DAVIS
This afternoon’s game between the Eagles and Thunderbirds will feature two rookie defencemen who are currently tied for first among NOJHL rookie blueliners in scoring.
Eagles rookie defenceman Trevor Davis enters this afternoon’s game with 7 points, including 0 goals and 7 assists while Thunderbirds rookie blueliner Creo “Sully” Solomon is also coming in with 7 points of his own, including 2 goals and 5 assists.
Davis, who recorded an assist for the Eagles in their 2-1 victory in Blind River last night, gave himself his seventh point of the season, which moved him into a tie with Creo Solomon for first among NOJHL rookie blueliners in scoring.
Solomon, who is entering this afternoon’s with 7 points, was held off the scoresheet in last night’s 3-2 overtime victory in Espanola.
Sticking with the blueline, rookie defenceman Andrew Gibson has also had a fine start with the Soo Thunderbirds since being sent down from the Soo Greyhounds.
In three games played with the Thunderbirds so far, Gibson has recorded 6 points, including 3 goals and 3 assists.
TALLAIRE TEARING IT UP
So far this season, Eagles forward Chase Tallaire has been putting up some impressive numbers.
The St. Ignace, Michigan native currently leads the Eagles in scoring with 13 points, including 9 goals and 4 assists in 9 games played.
The 18-year-old is also coming into this afternoon’s game on an eight-game point-scoring streak.
METIVIER IN GOAL
Looking at numbers between the pipes now, Thunderbirds rookie netminder Noah Metivier is off to a tremendous start to his 2020-2021 season.
The 17-year-old netminder currently has the lowest goals against average among all NOJHL goalies at (1.34) and also has the best save percentage among all league goalies (.957%).
KILLING THEM OFF
So far this season, the Soo Thunderbirds have had more success than any other team in the NOJHL when it comes to killing off penalties.
The Thunderbirds enter this afternoon’s game with the best penalty kill in the entire NOJHL, operating at 88.9%.
The Soo also went 3 for 4 on their penalty kill in last night’s 3-2 overtime victory in Espanola.
MOVING ON UP
After receiving honourable mention in the CJHL’s Top 20 Rankings two weeks ago, the Soo Thunderbirds have now moved up to No. 19 in the nation this week.
The Thunderbirds, who are ranked No. 19 in Canada, are just one of three NOJHL teams that are currently ranked in this week’s CJHL Top 20 Rankings.
The other two NOJHL teams that are currently ranked in this week’s top 20, are the Powassan Voodoos (18) and the Timmins Rock (5).
(Photo credit to Matt Stefano)