By Matt Stefano
After putting up a season-high eight goals on Sunday night in an 8-4 victory over the Elliot Lake Wildcats, the Soo Thunderbirds headed into Wednesday night’s game riding a 6 game winning streak as they took on the Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
On Wednesday night, the Soo Thunderbirds offence showed no signs of slowing down as they scored 12 goals, including 7 in the third period in a 12-1 victory over the last place Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
The last time the Thunderbirds scored 12 goals in a game, was back on September 14th, 2014 in a 12-1 victory over the Blind River Beavers.
Thunderbirds top goal scorer Nick Smith recorded a natural hat trick in the first period to give the Soo a 3-0 lead after one, but he wasn’t done there though as he would then score two more in the third, giving him five goals on the evening, which tied the franchise record for most goals by a Thunderbird player in one game.
“I didn’t expect this tonight,” said Smith. “I just wanted to go in and keep our streak going.”
Assistant captains Noah Solinger and Kaidan McDonald had a power play goal and three assists each on Wednesday night while playing on Smith’s line.
“We all know our roles and we’re all great friends off the ice,” continued Smith. “Chemistry just comes on the ice and things just roll nicely.”
Smith, who scored five goals on Wednesday night, also became the first Soo Thunderbird to score five goals in a game since Matt Dias did back on November 21st, 2004.
“It feels pretty good,” concluded Smith “You have to expect the unexpected sometimes.”
Ryan Lawrence and Tristan Cicchello recorded their first NOJHL goals while setting up another for two points each.
Tyler Malpass had a goal and an assist while Braden Robbins and Nicolas Case also chipped in with one goal each.
Steven Bellini and Alex Acosta also had multi point performances, setting up two goals each.
Austin Heinrich, Nolan Ford, Camaryn Baber and Ryan Mulligan all chipped in with one assist each.
Connor Tessier’s power play goal from Isaac Tkachuk and Jason Pitawanakwat was the only scoring play on the night for the Express.
Express goaltender Jacob Hutchings gave up eight goals on forty two shots before being replace in net by Adam Scott, who then gave up four goals on nine shots the rest of the way.
Thunderbirds goaltender Eric Schuch made 14 stops for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will be in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Saturday night to take on the Soo Eagles at 7:00 from the Pullar Stadium.
(Photo of Nick Smith credit to Matt Stefano)