By Matt Stefano
Mars had a night to remember on Thursday night in Sudbury!
On Thursday night, Soo Thunderbirds forward Wyatt “Mars” Marlow led the way offensively with two goals and two assists, as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to defeat the Greater Sudbury Cubs by a score of 5-2 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in game 1 of the NOJHL West Division final.
Marlow, who recorded four points on Thursday night, also gave himself his first ever multi-point game in the playoffs.
“It always feels great to win the first game of a series,” Marlow said. “I thought our team prepared very well for tonight and we were all very excited to get on the ice and it showed in all aspects of our game.”
Since returning to the Thunderbirds lineup after missing game 3 of the West Division semifinal series due to an injury, Marlow has recorded six points three games.
“I think playoffs is the time of year that makes it easy to get up for games,” Marlow said. “The idea of playing every night to earn the privilege to continue your season should be enough motivation for anybody.”
“Mars was a difference maker all night for us tonight and he’s also been great in his last three games since returning to our lineup,” added Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “He is clearly getting healthy again and we are ecstatic that he’s feeling great.”
On Thursday night, the Thunderbirds also saw another great performance from their rookie forward Jackson Truchan, as he finished the night with a pair of goals, good for his second multi-goal game of the playoffs.
Truchan’s first goal of the game, came on the power play at the 19:15 mark of the first period, which at that time gave the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
The Farmington Hills, Michigan native then got his second goal of the game at the 19:27 mark of the second period, which at that time gave the Thunderbirds a 3-1 lead heading into the third.
“My goals tonight couldn’t have came easier,” Truchan said. “On the first goal, Capper (Dharan Cap) found me driving wide side and hit me for a back door tap in. On the second goal, I got a lucky bounce off the glass that came right to me and the net was wide open for me to bury it home.”
“J.T. was a difference maker again tonight,” added Jarrett. “His line with Capper and Juice (Justin Mauro) also played great and they set the tone.”
Truchan, who scored two goals on Thursday night, was also the named the Soo Thunderbirds Rookie of the Year at their team awards banquet back on Tuesday night in the Soo.
“Winning the Soo Thunderbirds Rookie of the Year Award this year was obviously a great honour and I was happy to be voted for that award,” Truchan said. “But I have the drive and motivation to come out every night and play to the best of my ability, and since the start of the playoffs I have never taken a game off.”
On Thursday night, the Thunderbirds also got multi-point performances for two others players, as forward Daniel Beaupre finished the night two assists while Thunderbirds assistant captain Dharan Cap scored once and set up another.
With the Cubs goaltender Noah Metivier on the bench for an extra attacker late in the third period, Cap scored a goal into an empty net with just three seconds to go in the third period, which at that time made the score 5-2 for the Soo.
The goal also extended Cap’s goal-scoring streak to six games.
“Capper was solid in all aspects of his game tonight and he made it really hard on the Cubs,” Jarrett said.
Austin Fellinger, Alex Remenda, Justin Mauro and Anton Petrovskiy also all got on the scoresheet for the Thunderbirds with one assist each.
Cubs captain Oliver Smith led the way offensively for his club on Thursday night with a goal and an assist while forward Samuel Assinewai also got on the scoresheet with one goal.
Christopher Innes, Pierson Sobush and Billy Biedermann all chipped in with one assist each for the Cubs.
Cubs goaltender Noah Metiver gave up 4 goals on 40 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Landon Miller made 20 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds, who have taken a 1-0 series lead against the Cubs, will now stay over night in Sudbury, and will be back in action for game 2 on Friday night at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
“We want to keep building and stay focused on our game,” Jarrett said. “We will get some rest and reset to be ready to go on Friday.”
(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds forward Wyatt Marlow credit to Bob Davies)