By Matt Stefano
After defeating the Elliot Lake Wildcats on Friday night 6-1 at Centennial Arena and winning their fourth consecutive game, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to win five in a row for the first time this season as they were in Espanola on Saturday night to take on the Express.
T-Birds rookie forward Gage Stephney, who entered Saturday night’s contest on a three game point scoring streak, opened the scoring with his 5th goal of the season on the power play at 11:45 into the first period from Jake Behse and Ryan Waterhouse.
Then, with just 1:01 left to go in the first, it would be T-Birds leading goal scorer Zach Senecal getting his 13th of the season on a shorthanded tally to put the Soo up 2-0 after one.
After a scoreless second period, the T-Birds would add two in the third.
Rookie forward Kaidan McDonald notched his 2nd of the year from Nick Smith and Greg Smith at 3:32 to put the T-Birds up by three.
Another rookie would score for the T-Birds with just 41 seconds to regulation as Keenan Eddy would get his 8th of the season from Kaidan McDonald and Keegan Stevenson as the Soo went on to blank the Espanola Express 4-0 at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
Express goalie Kyle Alaverdy gave up 4 goals on 39 shots for the loss while Soo Greyhounds prospect Dougie Newhouse was named second star of the game, turning aside 33 shots for his first career NOJHL shutout.
With the victory, the T-Birds have now moved two points ahead of the Cochrane Crunch for first place in the NOJHL standings, although the Crunch still hold four games in hand.
The T-Birds will now play their final game of the month on Sunday, October 30th in Elliot Lake at 7:00 p.m. from the Centennial Arena.
(Photo of Dougie Newhouse credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)