By Matt Stefano
The comeback kids have done it again!
After trailing the Elliot Lake Red Wings 4-2 late in the second period, the Soo Thunderbirds came back to score five unanswered goals, including three in the third period as they went on to defeat the Red Wings by a score of 7-4 at Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake.
It was also the second straight game the Thunderbirds came back to win from a two-goal deficit.
“We were playing well early on in the game, but unfortunately we took a couple penalties and gave them some life early in the second period. Once again though, we got a big goal to get us going and we dominated in the third period to earn the win,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson.
On Saturday night, the Thunderbirds also went 1 for 4 on the penalty kill while going 4 for 8 on the man advantage.
“Special teams are always so important and we did really well on our power play and penalty kill tonight,” Henderson said.
Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Andrew Gibson led the way offensively on Saturday night with four points, including two power play goals and two assists.
“It felt awesome to have a big impact in the game tonight,” Gibson said. “I also thought the boys played really well and we came out with a big win.”
Gibson, who had four points on Saturday night, has now given himself five points in his first two games played with the Thunderbirds.
“I think I really fed off of the guys,” Gibson said. “Everyone’s been playing really well and it feels great to be apart of that.”
Thunderbirds second-year forward Tyson Doucette also had a big night offensively as he scored a power play and set up two others while rookie defenceman Connor Healy chipped in with three assists.
Healy, who had three assists on Saturday night in Elliot Lake, also gave himself his first career multi point game.
“It felt good to get those points tonight and set up my teammates, but most importantly we got the win,” said Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Connor Healy.
Thunderbirds rookie forward and Ottawa 67’s prospect Cooper Foster also had a multi-point game of his own on Saturday night with two helpers.
Michael Chaffay (power play), Kelsey Ouellet, Kaden Dundas and Samuel Lake had a goal each for the Thunderbirds while Zane Burleigh, Cole Delarosbil and Creo Solomon all chipped in with one assist each.
Red Wings captain Dayton Clarke scored three goals, including once on the power play on Saturday night, giving him his first career hat trick.
Clarke, who scored all three of his goals in the second period, became the first player in Red Wings history to score three goals in a game.
Josh Tomasi had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings while Aidan Leblanc and Jovani Moses set up two goals each.
Red Wings defenceman Charlie Wesholowski also got on the scoresheet on Saturday night with one assist.
Elliot Lake netminder Colton Donaldson gave up 7 goals on 33 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa made 36 saves for the victory.
With the win, the Thunderbirds have now improved their record to 6 wins, 1 loss and 1 shootout loss, good for 13 points.
They have also moved into a tie with the Powassan Voodoos for first place in the NOJHL standings.
Next action for the Thunderbirds will be on Saturday, October 16, when they visit Espanola to take on the Espanola Express.
Puck drop for that game is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
NOT FEELING AT HOME
The newly named Elliot Lake Red Wings (formerly the Elliot Lake Wildcats) have yet to win a game on home ice this season.
Following Saturday night’s loss to the Soo Thunderbirds, the Red Wings home record has now fallen to 0 wins and 5 losses.