By Matt Stefano
After getting a taste of NOJHL action for the first time since February 29th on Friday night at the John Rhodes, the Soo Thunderbirds were right back in action on Saturday night for the second game on their preseason schedule as they were in Blind River to take on the Blind River Beavers.
The Thunderbirds, who were coming off a 6-1 victory over the Beavers in their first game of the preseason on Friday night, finished a perfect two for two against the Beavers on Saturday night with a 7-4 win at the Blind River Community Centre.
The Soo opened the scoring on the power play just 3:27 into the first period, courtesy of Avery Rebek’s first goal of the preseason from Cooper Smyl and Michael Chaffay.
A goal by newly signed forward Russell Oldham at the 7:55 mark of the first from Will Josephson would then give the Soo a 2-0 lead.
Avery Rebek would then notch his second goal of the game at the 14:07 mark of the first from Michael Chaffay and Cooper Smyl, giving the Thunderbirds a 3-0 cushion.
Then, just 7 ticks later, it would be the Beavers getting on the board as Meguire Naughton would notch his first of the preseason, cutting the Thunderbirds lead to 3-1 after twenty minutes of play.
The Beavers made things a little more interesting at the 6:50 mark of the second period as Noah Minns notched his first goal of the preseason from Sam Davies and Sudbury Wolves 2020 eleventh round pick Devin Mauro, cutting the Thunderbirds lead to 3-2.
The Thunderbirds would then get a two-goal lead back with just over half a game left to go, courtesy of Cooper Smyl’s first goal of the preseason on the power play from Connor Toms and Avery Rebek at the 9:05 mark of the second.
Toms, who drew an assist on Smyl’s goal, gave himself his first point of the 2020 preseason.
Smyl would then notch his second goal of the game and fourth point of the night with 1:48 left to go in the second, giving the Soo a 5-2 lead after two periods of play.
Avery Rebek, who drew an assist on Smyl’s second goal of the game, also gave himself his fourth point of the night.
The Beavers would cut the Thunderbirds lead to 5-3 at the 9:29 mark of the third period, courtesy of Lucas Adams power play goal from Noah Minns and Erie Otters 2018 fifteenth round pick Justin Mauro.
A power play goal by Soo Greyhounds 2020 third round pick Connor Toms at the 10:45 mark of the third, would then give the Thunderbirds a 6-3 lead.
Ryan Williams and Ethan Novello had the assists on what would be Toms first goal of the preseason.
Then, at the 4:32 mark of the third, it would be London Knights 2020 fifth round pick Mason Chitaroni getting his first goal of the preseason from Alex Tingay, which cut the Thunderbirds lead to 6-4.
An empty net goal by former Soo Eagles forward Caleb Wood with just 51 ticks to go in the third, made the final score 7-4 in favour of the orange and blue.
Thunderbirds newly signed defenceman Cam Dutkiewicz had the lone assist on what would be Wood’s second goal of the preseason.
Beavers goaltender and Sooite Gavin Disano gave up six goals on 45 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds newly signed netminder Alex Bugeja made 49 stops in his first taste of NOJHL action.
The Thunderbirds, who have now defeated the Beavers 6-1 on Friday and 7-4 on Saturday, have now concluded the 2020 preseason with a perfect 2-0 record.
And while fans are still hoping to see regular season action return soon, you’ll be happy to know that the Soo Thunderbirds will now kick off their 2020-2021 regular season on Saturday, November 14th at 7:00 p.m., when they take on the Blind River Beavers at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
And this time, it’s a game that counts two points for a win!
(Photo credit to Bob Davies)