Hayes leads Thunderbirds past Beavers

By Matt Stefano

After dropping a 3-2 decision in overtime on Thursday night to the Blind River Beavers in Blind River, the Soo Thunderbirds were back at home just twenty four hours later on Friday night for a rematch against the Beavers at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

The Thunderbirds, who also entered Friday night’s game on a six game losing streak, got back on the winning track as they hammered the Blind River Beavers by a score of 8-2.

“It feels really good and everyone worked really hard tonight,” said Thunderbirds forward Colton Hayes.

Hayes, who was acquired by the Thunderbirds in a trade with the OJHL’s Wellington Dukes back on Monday, led the way offensively with four assists on Friday night.

Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, Hayes had 1 assist in 10 games played with the Dukes this season.

“It was nice to get a few points tonight since it’s been a pretty dry season so far,” continued Hayes.

Hayes, who comes from Escanaba, Michigan, played in just his second game with the Thunderbirds on Friday night and first one on John Rhodes ice.

“I like this team and I like J.P. (John Parco), because he’s a really good coach and he helps us a lot on and off the ice,” continued the Escanaba, Michigan native.

Friday night’s also saw two Thunderbird rookies (both named Tyler) notch their first career goals.

Rookie defenceman and Flint Firebirds 2019 third round pick Tyler Dunbar scored his first NOJHL goal and added an assist.

The other Tyler who got on the scoreboard for the Thunderbirds was rookie forward and Hounds 2019 eleventh round pick Tyler Savard, who notched his first career NOJHL tally at the 6:29 mark of the third period.

“They work really hard and they’re going to have a good year,” continued Hayes.

Rookie forward Cooper Smyl had a goal and an assist for the Thunderbirds while assistant captain Cam Findlay also had a multi point night with a pair of assists.

Kurtis Rogers, Mackenzie Walkington and leading goal scorer Matthew Bazarin had the other goals for the Soo.

Chase MacIntyre, Tristan Cicchello, Avery Rebek, Brock Santa Maria, Will Josephson and Warner Young all chipped in with one assist each for the Thunderbirds.

Beavers forward Andrew Malek had a power play goal and an assist while Milos Todorovic also got on the scoresheet with one goal.

Thomas Dodds and Logan Gallagher had an assist each for the Beavers.

Beavers netminder Jonathan Lemaire gave up 5 goals on 38 shots before being replaced in net by Odyssey Hopkin, who gave up 3 goals on 8 shots the rest of the way.

Thunderbirds rookie netminder Dakota Meyer made 40 saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds will now get set for their third game in three nights, which will take place on Saturday at 7:00 p.m., when they take on the Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

“We are just going to get a good night sleep and come back and do the same thing we did against Blind River,” concluded Hayes.

(Photo credit to Bob Davies)

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