By Matt Stefano
After dropping a 3-2 decision to the Soo Eagles on Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and having their eight-game winning streak snapped, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to get back on the winning track on Saturday night in a rematch against the Eagles at the John Rhodes.
Despite missing forwards Gage Stephney, Noah Boman and Tyler Malpass all due to injuries, the Thunderbirds defeated the Soo Eagles on Saturday night by a score of 5-2.
“I thought we had a better start tonight than we did on Friday night,” said Thunderbirds forward Brendan Miller. “Tonight we got pucks deep and buried our chances.”
Miller, who entered Saturday night’s game with two goals on the season, never had a two-goal game in his NOJHL career.
But on Saturday night, the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan native recorded his first career two-goal game against his hometown Soo Eagles.
Both of his goals were scored in the third period.
“It feels really good,” continued the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan native. “It’s really good for my confidence and I should be able to build on it from here.”
Thunderbirds rookie netminder Colin Ahern, who got his second straight start in goal on Saturday night, earned second star of the game, making twenty nine saves for the victory.
“He’s always really consistent,” continued Miller. “He’s been good for us all year and he always gives us a chance to win.”
Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Nate Medaglia, who entered Saturday night’s contest with no goals and five assists on the season, scored his first NOJHL goal into an empty net with just forty eight seconds to go in the third period.
“All the boys are happy for Nate,” continued Miller. “It’s always nice to see that milestone happen.”
Rookie forward Cam Findlay recorded his first career multi point game on Saturday night, scoring once and setting up another while Kaidan McDonald scored once for the Thunderbirds on the power play.
Jonathan Mackin, Lucas Theriault, Steven Bellini, Max Techel and Nolan for all had one assist each for the Thunderbirds.
Mikey Butcher and Charlie Hanewall had a goal each for the Eagles while Brendan Blair, Nathan Solis and George Orfanos all chipped in with one assist each.
Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato gave up four goals on twenty four shots in the loss.
The Thunderbirds, who have now moved into sole possession of first place in the NOJHL standings with 46 points, will play their third game in three nights on Sunday night in Sudbury, when they take on the Rayside Balfour Canadians at Chelmsford Arena at 6:30 p.m.
“We have to get pucks deep like we did tonight (Saturday) and we’ll have our chances,” concluded Miller.
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)