Malpass leads Thunderbirds past Wildcats

After defeating the Espanola Express 7-3 back on Friday at Espanola Regional Recreation Complex and improving their record to 4-0, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to remain unbeaten on Sunday night as they were back on John Rhodes ice to take on the 2-4 Elliot Lake Wildcats.

It was one week ago when the Thunderbirds hammered the Wildcats 6-1 at the Rhodes, but on Sunday night the result was much closer.

On Sunday night, the Thunderbirds edged the Wildcats by a score of 4-3 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

“I thought we came out hard and played the puck well,” said Thunderbirds forward Tyler Malpass. “We played our systems and we did what we had to do to get the win.”

Tyler Malpass led the way offensivley for the Thunderbirds on Sunday night, scoring a pair of goals, including one on the power play, along with adding an assist.

“It definielty felt good to put two goals in tonight and get three points, but the most important thing is we got the win,” continued Malpass.

With the win, the Thunderbirds have now improved their record to 5-0 for the first time since the 2015-2016 season.

“It’s great to get off to a 5-0 start,” continued Malpass. “The boys are rallying together, we’re starting to get that brotherhood and it feels good.”

Richards Landing native Nolan Ford also had a multi point night for the Thunderbirds, scoring once and setting up another.

Kaidan McDonald’s goal (game winner) just 24 seconds into the third period, gave the Thunderbirds 4-2 lead.

Carson Andreoli’s power play goal with just 47 seconds to go in regulation time, cut the Thunderbirds lead to 4-3.

Connor Taylor had two goals for the Wildcats, including one on the power play, along with adding and assist.

Brett Lannin, Noah Minns and Josh Bifolchi had an assist each for the Wildcats.

Tanner Mayne, Tristan Cicchello, Noah Boman, Steven Bellini and Ryan Lawrence all had one assist each for the Thunderbirds.

Wildcats goaltender Justin Vertesi gave up 4 goals on 33 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern made 22 saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds will be back in action this Friday at 7:00 p.m., when they welcome the Rayside Balfour Canadians to the Rhodes for the first time since last year’s West Division Final.

The Thunderbirds, who already played the Canadians in Sudbury back on September 9th, defeated them by a score 3-2.

“I don’t think we’re going to look too much in the past when we played them, but we’re going to come out and give them a hard fought game and hopefully get the win,” concluded Malpass.

(Photo of Tyler Malpass credit to Rod Aubertin)

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