Smyl scores overtime winner, Thunderbirds move into third in the West

By Matt Stefano

After hammering the last place Elliot Lake Wildcats by a score of 11-0 back on Sunday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were back in action on Saturday night as they took on the French River Rapids at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

Saturday night’s game was also the Thunderbirds final home game of 2019.

The Rapids got on the board first just 1:31 into the opening period as Jack Tos would notch his seventh goal of the season from Alex Paul, which put his club up by one after twenty minutes of play.

The shots on goal were 8-8 after the opening period.

Despite being outshot by the Rapids 19-12 in the middle frame, the Thunderbirds managed to keep the score only 1-0 for the visitors heading into the third period.

With the Thunderbirds trailing 1-0 late in third period, it would newly acquired forward Rylan Clemons tying things up with just 16 seconds to go in the third period from Nick Smith.

Clemons, who entered Saturday night’s game with eight points in three games played with the Thunderbirds, also gave himself his ninth point in just his fourth game in a Thunderbird uniform.

The teams were then headed for overtime.

With just eleven seconds to go in the extra frame, it would be Thunderbirds rookie forward Cooper Smyl notching his first career overtime goal, which gave the Soo a 2-1 overtime win against French River at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

Smyl’s overtime goal, was also his eighth tally of the season.

Rapids goaltender Ben Montgomery gave up two goals on fifty shots in the loss while Thunderbirds newly signed netminder Sam Evola, who got his second straight start in net on Saturday night, made thirty one saves for the victory.

With the win, the Thunderbirds have now improved their record to 19 wins, 12, losses, 1 overtime loss and 3 shootout losses, good for 42 points.

They have also hopped over the Soo Eagles for third place in the NOJHL’s West Division.

The Thunderbirds will be back in action next Saturday at 7:30, p.m., when they visit Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for a matchup against the Soo Eagles.

(Photo by Bob Davies)

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