By Matt Stefano
Joe is back!
After missing ten straight games due to an injury, defenceman Ranon Joseph finally returned to the Soo Thunderbirds lineup on Saturday night for their road game in Cochrane.
And on Saturday night in Cochrane, Joe was a big help!
On Saturday night, in his first game back after missing the last ten (games), T-Birds defenceman Ranon Joseph led way offensively with two assists as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to defeat the Cochrane Crunch by a score of 3-2 at the Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane.
The win also put the Thunderbirds back on the winning track after they suffered a 4-3 sudden-death shootout loss to the Hearst Lumberjacks back on Sunday, March 12 in the Soo.
“It was great to see Joe (Ranon Joseph) back in the lineup tonight,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “I thought he looked good considering the amount of time that he missed. He wasn’t quite himself tonight, but that was to be expected, so tomorrow (Sunday) will be good chance for him to continue to build his pace heading into the playoffs.”
“It was obviously great to be back in the lineup, but I didn’t feel good out there tonight,” said Joseph, who hasn’t suited up for a game since February 7. “It’s always tough after missing a month of hockey.”
Joseph, who finished the night with two assists, also picked up an assist on rookie defenceman Tyler Boudreau’s goal at the 12:27 mark of the third period, which turned out to be the game-winner.
The goal by Boudreau at the 12:27 mark of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie.
“In practice we’ve been working on being more active on the blueline and being more creative, and that’s exactly what Boody (Tyler Boudreau) and I did tonight,” Joseph said.
Boudreau, who scored the game-winning goal, also gave himself his second game-winning goal of the season, which moved him into a tie with Brodie McConnell-Barker for the league lead in game-winning goals among all NOJHL rookie bluliners.
“We were getting chances to score all night tonight, but it was Ty, who was able to get one past Cochrane’s goalie,” Jarrett said. “It was a nice play made to the middle and he capitalized.”
“Boody has been buzzing as of late,” Joseph added. “With Felly (Kolby Fellinger) and Barks (Brodie McConnell-Barker) out of our lineup these past few games, Boody really stepped up and is hot right now. He is also my billet brother, so it’s always nice to see him succeed.”
Youssef Chaouachi and Alex Remenda had the other goals for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night while Jackson Truchan, Samuel Lake and Ethan Novello all chipped in with one assist each.
The goal by Chaouachi, came at the 6:40 mark of the second period, which at that time made the score 1-1.
Michael Leech and Nathan McDonald had the goals for the Crunch while Allan Watt and Desmond Brazeau recorded one assist each.
Despite only scoring three times against the Crunch on Saturday night, the Thunderbirds still finished the game with 53 shots on net, which was the fourth most shots on goal they’ve had in a single game this season.
“Cochrane’s goalie played great for sure,” Jarrett said. “He made some really good saves to keep the score close.”
“Full credit to Cochrane’s goalie, because he played great,” Joseph added. “We settled for a lot of perimeter shots, but that’s what happens when a team collapses on net. Credit to the Crunch though, because they capitalized on their chances and we didn’t give Kolt (Kolton Bourret) a good showing tonight in our D-zone.”
Crunch goaltender Jake Dubinsky gave up 3 goals on 53 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds rookie netminder Kolton Bourret turned aside 14 shots for his 19th victory of the season.
Bourret, who picked up his 19th victory, also moved into a tie with Noah Beaulne (Greater Sudbury Cubs) for the league lead in wins among NOJHL rookie netminders.
Next action for the Thunderbirds will be on Sunday, March 19, when they will visit Timmins to take on the top team in the East, Timmins Rock.
Puck drop for that game is set for 1:00 p.m. at McIntyre Arena.
(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Ranon Joseph credit to Bob Davies)