By Matt Stefano
After opening up their three-game road trip with a 6-2 victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners on Friday night in Kirkland Lake, the Soo Thunderbirds were in action for their second game in two nights on Saturday night as they made a visit to French River to take on the Rapids.
Thunderbirds rookie forward Jake Kovacs, who recorded his first career hat trick against Kirkland Lake on Friday night, also entered Saturday night’s game sitting first amomg NOJHL rookies in goals with 15.
The Thunderbirds, who were riding a season best five game winning streak heading into Saturday night’s game, extended their winning streak to six games as they slipped past the French River Rapids by a score of 2-1 at Noelville Arena.
After a scoreless opening period, it would be the Soo getting on the board first at the 9:14 mark of the second, as Matthew Bazarin would notch his 15th goal of the season from Nick Smith and Warner Young.
Bazarin’s 15th goal of the season also moved him into a tie with teammate Jake Kovacs for first in team goals.
French River would then respond with 6:42 left to go in the second, as Ty Chambers would get his 6th goal of the season from James Eng and Benjamin Naimool, which tied the game at one after two periods of play.
Then, with just 15 seconds left to go in the third period, it would be Thunderbirds rookie forward Jake Kovacs getting his team leading 16th goal of the season from Nick Smith and Matthew Bazarin, which gave the Soo a 2-1 lead.
Kovacs 16th goal at 19:45, also gave him his third game winning goal of the season, moving him into first among NOJHL rookies in game winning goals.
Rapids netminder Chase Johnson earned first star of the game, making 45 saves in the loss.
Thunderbirds goaltender Dakota Meyer made 23 saves for the victory.
The Soo while now conclude their three-game road trip tomorrow night, when they visit Chelmsford to take on the Rayside Balfour Canadians.
Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m. at Chelmsford Arena.
(Photo credit to Bob Davies)