By Matt Stefano
On Sunday afternoon, the Soo Thunderbirds played their final game of November as they were in Espanola to take on the Express.
The last time these two teams met was back on October 18th at the John Rhodes, when the Thunderbirds scored a season high 12 goals to go on to defeat the Express 12-1.
That game, forward Nick Smith found the back of the net five times, which tied the Soo Thunderbirds record for most goals scored in one game.
Heading into Sunday afternoon’s game, the Thunderbirds gave up the least goals against in the NOJHL, only surrendering 54 goals, while the Express gave up the most goals against in the league (142).
A big first period was the difference for the Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon as they would score four times in the opening twenty minutes of play, before going on to a 5-3 win over the Espanola Express at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
Forward Nick Smith led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds with three assists.
Smith’s three assist performance, also gave him 15 assists on the season, which tied his career high assist totals from one season ago.
Camaryn Baber and Mark Tassone had a goal and an assist each for the Thunderbirds while Lucas Theriault, Tanner Mayne and Ryan Lawrence also got on the scoresheet with one goal each.
Robert Calisti, Austin Heinrich, Nolan Ford, Braden Robbins and Steven Bellini all chipped in with one assist each for the Thunderbirds.
Joel Grandbois led the way offensively for the Express with a goal and an assist while MaKenzie MacMillan and Jace Pitawanakwat had a goal each.
James Way, Tyler Bourassa, Bryce Patterson and Jarod Hurley all chipped in with one assist each for the Express.
Eric Schuch made 26 saves for the Thunderbirds win while Jacob Hutchings gave up 5 goals on 31 shots in the Express loss.
The Thunderbirds did not have a power play on Sunday afternoon, but ended up going a perfect three for three on the penalty kill.
The Thunderbirds, who have now won four in a row, will head to Blind River on Saturday to take on the Blind River Beavers at the Blind River Community Centre.
(Photo of Nick Smith by Jim Egan)