By Matt Stefano
After picking up their 39th victory of the season on Thursday night, thanks to a 4-2 victory over the Elliot Lake Wildcats in Elliot Lake, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on home ice on Friday night as they took on the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, who made their first and only visit to the Soo this season.
Despite outshooting the Gold Miners 32-28 overall, the Thunderbirds fell by a score of 2-1 to Kirkland Lake at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
The Gold Miners also snapped the Thunderbirds five-game winning streak.
“The guys played hard, but we just didn’t get the bounces we wanted,” said Thunderbirds overage forward Brendan Miller. “We had a short lineup, but we just have to keep playing hard until everybody comes back so we can get ready for the playoffs.”
Vinny Sanctis scored his fourteenth goal of the season from Dawson Zahorian and Dawson Rodin at the 11:48 mark of the first period, which put the Gold Miners up 1-0 after twenty minutes of play.
After a scoreless second period, the Thunderbirds would then find the back of the net at the 3:21 mark of the third, courtesy of Brendan Miller’s eighth goal of the season from Kaidan McDonald and Spencer Van Tiem, which tied the game up at one.
“Mac (Kaidan McDonald) got it to the net originally and I just tapped in the rebound. It needed a lot of work to get it there,” continued Miller.
With the game tied 1-1 just over nine minutes into the third, it would be Dawson Zahorian getting his second goal of the season from Josh Maine at 9:06, which put the Gold Miners up 2-1.
Zahorian, who was playing in just his sixteenth game with Gold Miners this season, finished the game with a goal (game winner) and an assist, good for his first career multi point game.
Gold Miners netminder Dawson Rodin was named second star of the game, marking thirty one saves for the victory.
Thunderbirds goaltender William Anderson gave up two goals on twenty eight shots in the loss.
The Thunderbirds, who are still in search of win No. 40 on the season, will try to make it happen this Sunday at 7:00 p.m., when they take on the Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
“We’re just going to rest up, because the guys have been playing a lot of minutes the last two nights. But on Sunday night we will come to win,” concluded Miller.
Prior to Friday night’s game at the John Rhodes, a pre-game ceremony was held as the Thunderbirds honoured their former captain Jerry Petingalo.
Petingalo, who also is the Thunderbirds all-time leading scorer, officially had his retired number (No. 9) unveiled behind the Soo Thunderbirds bench.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native played with the Thunderbirds from 2006-2011.
The full ceremony was can be viewed in the Soo Thunderbirds Facebook page.
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)