By Matt Stefano
They didn’t pick up a win on Sunday afternoon, but they still finished the game with a point!
On Sunday afternoon, the Soo Thunderbirds dropped a 5-4 decision in a shootout to the Blind River Beavers at the Blind River Community Centre in Blind River, and had their winning streak snapped at three games.
The Thunderbirds, who were coming off a 5-0 win against the Espanola Express back on Saturday night in the Soo, then had to make a trip to Blind River on Sunday for their second game in less than twenty-four hours.
“I won’t make any excuses,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “We left it all out there this weekend and we are happy to get 3 out of a possible 4 points. We played a tough home game on Saturday before playing by a good opponent this afternoon on the road.”
The Thunderbirds, who were leading 4-1 in the second period, then gave up three unanswered goals, including two in the third period.
“The boys battled hard all game and unfortunately we couldn’t close it out in the third,” Jarrett said. “Give the Beavers full credit, they capitalized on their opportunities and played a hard 60 plus minutes.”
After a scoreless overtime period, it would be Beavers rookie forward Evan Fraccaro getting the lone goal in the shootout, which proved to be the winner.
Christian Howanitz, Tyson Doucette and Kelsey Ouellet all shot for the Thunderbirds during the shootout, but all three of them did not score.
“I thought we came out buzzing today, but some bounces didn’t got our way after the 4-1 lead and it led to their comeback,” said Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Creo Solomon.
Rookie defenceman Creo Solomon led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon with two goals, which turned out to be the first two goals of his NOJHL career.
“It felt great to contribute the way I did, and I’m glad I got the first couple goals out of the way early. I still wish we could’ve taken the win, especially with how hard the boys fought today,” Solomon said.
Solomon, who finished the afternoon with a pair of goals, became the first Thunderbird rookie defenceman to record a two-goal game since Warner Young did back on December 8, 2019.
“It’s cool to have that experience as a rookie and I’m looking forward to staying that consistent throughout the season,” Solomon said.
Kelsey Ouellet and Michael Chaffay (power play) had the other goals for the Thunderbirds while Christian Howanitz, Kyle Trottier, Kaden Dundas and Cole Delarosbil all set up a goal each.
Beavers forward Meguire Naughton found the back of the net once and set up another while rookie defenceman George Alboim also had a multi-point afternoon with a pair assists.
Jesse Dupuis, Caleb Minns and Trevor Zimmer had the other goals for the Beavers while Ethan Pegg, Ben Cesario and Alexander Tingay all set up a goal each.
Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa made 40 saves in the loss.
Beavers goaltender Gavin Disano gave up 2 goals on 8 shots before being replaced in net by rookie netminder Jeremi Delaquis, who then gave up 2 goals on 26 shots the rest of the way.
The Thunderbirds will now be back on John Rhodes ice this Friday at 7:30 p.m., when they take on their cross-border rivals the Soo Eagles for the first time since February 29, 2020.
(Photo of Creo Solomon credit to Bob Davies)