By Matt Stefano
After having their three game winning streak snapped on Saturday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan against the Eagles, the top team in the nation Soo Thunderbirds were in Espanola on Sunday afternoon for their first meeting against the Express.
T-Birds goalie Connor Ryckman turned aside 35 shots for his first NOJHL shutout as the Soo blanked the Espanola Express 4-0 at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
T-Birds overage forward Joey Miller, who hasn’t scored in his last 17 games, had a pair of goals including one short handed and another on the power play. Miller’s two goals on Sunday afternoon also gave him 136 career points to tie him with Mike McMillan (2003-2006) for 9th on the Soo Thunderbirds all time points list. Khadyn Butterfly and Jaren Bellini also had two point efforts with a pair of assists each while single assists went to Brandon Grandinetti, Matt Busby, Nathan Hebert and Darian Pilon. Matt Caruso and Drake Pilon had the other goals for the Soo.
Kevin Labelle gave up 4 goals on 38 shots in net for the Express.
The T-Birds will return to action at home this Wednesday, January 27th at 7:00 pm against the Rayside Balfour Canadians from the Essar Centre.