By Matt Stefano
Preseason action has officially started for the Soo Thunderbirds on Friday night and as the club prepares for its 19th season, there were a lot of new faces looking to make an impact on this year’s team.
The Thunderbirds were in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Friday night for their first of two preseason games against the Soo Eagles.
It was also the first time the Thunderbirds met the Soo Eagles since they were swept by them in four straight games during last year’s NOJHL West Division Semifinal series.
The Soo Eagles would take a 2-0 lead after the first period, getting a couple of power play goals from Chris Banser and Mike Butcher just 1:09 apart.
Assistant captain Jake Palmerio, captain Jake Saxton, Kobe Keller, and Mike Butcher would all draw assists for the Eagles in the first period.
Etobicoke, Ontario native Alex Acosta would get the Thunderbirds on board just 6:38 into the second period, scoring his first of the preseason on the power play to cut the Eagles lead to 2-1.
Braden Robbins and Austin Heinrich would draw the assists on Acosta’s power play marker.
The Eagles went up 3-1 at the 10:29 mark of the second, courtesy of Mihali See’s power play goal from Kellen Tharaldson and Justin Weinbrenner.
With a total of four power play goals scored to start the game, the first even strength goal would go to the Thunderbirds at the 15:40 mark of the second period, as Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan native Brendan Miller would get his first tally of the preseason from Ryan Mulligan to cut the Eagles lead to 3-2 after two.
Avery Rebek, who spent last season with the Soo Indians 18U AAA club, scored for the Thunderbirds just 3:47 into the third period, tying things up at three.
Defenceman Kelly Quevillon, who suited up for 4 games last season with the Thunderbirds, would draw the only assist on Rebek’s goal.
Rebek wasn’t done there though, as he would then get his second goal of the night from Ryan Mulligan at 7:17, which proved to be the game winner as the Thunderbirds went on to defeat the Soo Eagles 4-3 at Pullar Stadium.
Shane Brancato gave up 4 goals on 24 shots in net for the Eagles while Brandon Gordon, who is entering his third season with the Thunderbirds, turned aside 45 shots for the win.
The Thunderbirds wrap up preseason action Saturday night, looking to go two for two against the Soo Eagles.
Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Pullar Stadium.
After winning an OHL championship with the Erie Otters this past May, it was announced two days ago that defenceman Owen Headrick has been invited to the 2017 Boston Bruins Rookie Camp.