Rotiroti’s hat trick leads Thunderbirds past Cubs

By Matt Stefano

Rotiroti is putting on a show on the road!

After scoring his first goal in a Thunderbirds uniform in last Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss in Soo Michigan, Alfred Rotiroti ended up scoring three goals, including a pair of power play markers on Thursday night in Sudbury, as he led the Soo Thunderbirds to a 6-2 road win over the Greater Sudbury Cubs at Gerry McCrory Sports Countryside Sports Complex.

The win also gave the Thunderbirds their 15th victory of the season.

“We did great offensively tonight and the team did a great job of moving the puck and breaking it out of our zone efficiently, which translated to our victory tonight,” Rotiroti said. “We did the little things right and won the 50/50 puck battles.”

Rotiroti opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds on the power play with his 2nd goal of the season just 2:52 into the first period from Mason Chitaroni, which gave the Soo an early 1-0 lead.

Chitaroni, who had an assist on Rotiroti’s tally, also gave himself his first point in a Soo Thunderbirds uniform.

With the Thunderbirds leading 4-0 with under six minutes to go in the second period, Roitiroti would then score two more goals just 2:19 apart, giving the Soo a 6-0 lead.

“It feels great to get three goals, but I’m more proud of how our team handled the chippy, dirty plays tonight and held back on temptations to retaliate,” Rotiroti said. “Because of our team’s discipline, my hat trick and all the goals we scored tonight were able to happen.”

Rotiroti, who was acquired in a trade from the Yarmouth Mariners back on November 13, has now given himself 4 goals and 6 points in just 5 games played as a member of the Thunderbirds.

Before coming over to the Thunderbirds, the Chicago, Illinois native had 1 goal and 6 points in 10 games played with Yarmouth.

“My coaches here in the Soo have helped me a ton,” Rotiroti said. “They have helped me become a smarter player since I came over from Yarmouth. Each game with the Thunderbirds, I feel improvements and I’m more aware of when to use my speed and when to stay back and be sound defensively.”

On Thursday night, the Thunderbirds also got multi-point efforts from two other players, including defenceman Andrew Gibson and forward Youssef Chaouachi.

Gibson scored once (game winner) and set up another, giving him 23 points on the season.

The Soo Greyhounds prospect also moved into sole possession of first among all NOJHL blueliners in scoring, two points ahead of former Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Cameron Dutkiewicz (Timmins Rock).

Chaouachi, who entered Thursday night’s game with 6 points (4g 2a), set up two goals for his second multi-point game of the season.

Cole Delarosbil and Colby Arbour had the other goals for the Soo while Samuel Lake, Dharan Cap, Kelsey Ouellet and Michael Chaffay all chipped in with one assist each.

Jaxon Bedard and Cole Crowder had the goals for the Cubs while Seth Coulter, Christopher Innes and Pineshish Whiteduck all got on the scoresheet with one assist each.

Cubs netminder Joel Rainville gave up 4 goals on 12 shots, before being replaced in net by goaltender Sasha Gaumond, who then gave up 2 goals on 10 shots the rest of the way.

Thunderbirds netminder Noah Metiver made 21 saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds, who picked up a 6-2 road win over Greater Sudbury on Thursday night, have also snapped Greater Sudbury’s winning streak at six games.

The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Friday, December 3, when they visit Espanola to take on the Espanola Express.

Puck drop for that game is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.

(Photo of Alfred Rotiroti credit to Bob Davies)




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