Soo Thunderbirds 2021-2022 regular season review: By The Numbers

By Matt Stefano

The 2021-2022 regular season is now officially in the books and for the Soo Thunderbirds, it was nothing but a successful one!

And as we get set for postseason action which is just under a week away, let’s take a look at some of the things our Soo Thunderbirds did during the regular season – By the numbers.

Here are numbers: 1-23

1. No. 1 is where the Soo Thunderbirds finished this year in the NOJHL standings.

The Thunderbirds, who finished No. 1 overall this year in the NOJHL, also gave up the least goals against this year in the entire league, only letting in 101 goals against.

2. This year, the Thunderbirds had two 2005-birth-year players on their team, including forward Cooper Foster and defenceman Andrew Gibson.

Foster and Gibson were also the top two point getters on this year’s team.

3. In last night’s game in Cochrane, Thunderbirds rookie goaltender Noah Metiver closed out the regular season with his third straight shutout, making 23 saves in a 2-0 win over the Cochrane Crunch.

Metiver, who recorded his third straight shutout, also became the first Thunderbird goalie to record three straight shutouts since Connor Ryckman did back in the 2016 postseason.

4. Four is the number of insurance goals Thunderbirds forward Dharan Cap had during the regular season.

Cap’s four insurance goals were also the most among all Thunderbird players this season.

5. This season, Thunderbirds rookie forward and Ottawa 67’s prospect Cooper Foster was the only player on this year’s team to have a 5-point game.

Foster’s 5-point-game (1g 4a) came in the Thunderbirds 6-2 win over the Elliot Lake Red Wings back on October 20 at the John Rhodes.

6. Six is the numbers of shutouts Thunderbirds rookie goaltender Noah Metivier had during the 2021-2022 regular season.

Metiver, who recorded 6 shutouts this season, also set the new Soo Thunderbirds record for most shutouts by a Thunderbird goaltender during a regular season.

7. Is the number that defenceman Mason Chitaroni decided to wear with the Thunderbirds when he was acquired in a trade from the Cobourg Cougars back in November.

Chitaroni, who wears No. 7 on the back of his jersey, put up 16 points in 27 regular season games this year with his hometown Thunderbirds.

8. Eight was the Thunderbirds season-high for most goals scored in a single game during the regular season.

The Thunderbirds put up eight goals back on February 16 in an 8-1 victory over the Soo Eagles at the John Rhodes.

9. Is the number of power play tallies Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Andrew Gibson has put up during the 2021-2022 regular season.

Gibson’s 9 power play tallies were also the most among all NOJHL blueliners this season.

10. This season, Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa had a 10-game winning streak, which lasted from February 4 – March 31.

Zeppa, who had a 10-game winning streak this season, also became the first Thunderbird goalie to have a 10-game winning streak since Dougie Newhouse did back in the 2016-2017 season.

11. This season, the Thunderbirds had two players on their roster that finished the season with 11 goals each.

Those two players were rookie forwards Samuel Lake and Kenny Belanger Jr.

12. Is the number that rookie defenceman Kolby Fellinger decided to wear on the back of his jersey after he signed with the Thunderbirds during the 2021 offseason.

Fellinger, who wears No. 12, put up 13 points in 46 games played this year with the Thunderbirds.

13. That’s the number of goals Thunderbirds captain Brock Santa Maria put up during the 2021-2022 regular season.

Santa Maria, who put up 13 goals this season, also finished third in team scoring this season with 42 points.

14. In their final game of the regular season last night in Cochrane, the Thunderbirds picked up their 14th consecutive road victory, thanks to their 2-0 win over the Cochrane Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

The Thunderbirds, who picked up their 14th straight road win last night, also set a new franchise record for most consecutive road wins in a single season.

15. That’s the number of wins goaltender Noah Zeppa had this season with the Soo Thunderbirds.

Zeppa, who finished off the season with 15 victories, also had 1 shutout on the season.

16. Sixteen is the number of points Thunderbirds alternate captain Russell Oldham put up this year in his second season with the Soo.

Oldham, who put up 16 points this season, is also the oldest player on this year’s Soo Thunderbirds roster.

17. This season, the Thunderbirds had a total of 17 victories on home ice.

The Thunderbirds, who had 17 wins at home this season, also had the most wins this season at home out of any team in the NOJHL’s West Division.

18. After signing with the Soo Thunderbirds during the 2021 offseason, Thunderbirds rookie forward Kelsey Ouellet decided to wear No. 18 on the back of his jersey.

Ouellet, who wore No. 18 this season, led the Thunderbirds in empty net goals this season with 3.

19. Since coming over to the Soo Thunderbirds back in November, forwards Alfred Rotiroti and Dharan Cap have combined for 19 goals this season.

Rotiroti, who came over to the Thunderbirds in a trade from Yarmouth back on November 13, has put up 9 goals in 18 games played with the Thunderbirds.

Cap, who came over to the Thunderbirds in a trade from Swan Valley back on November 12, has found the back of the net 10 times for the Thunderbirds this season in 28 games played.

20. That’s the number of goals Thunderbirds alternate captain Michael Chaffay had during the 2021-2022 regular season.

Chaffay, who had 20 goals this season, also finished second this year in team goals.

21. Is the number of goals rookie defenceman and Soo Greyhounds prospect Andrew Gibson had this season with the Soo Thunderbirds.

Gibson, who finished this season with 21 goals, also led all Thunderbird players in goals this season.

22. Is the number of points rookie forward Kenny Belanger Jr. put up in his rookie season this year with the Thunderbirds.

Belanger Jr., who finished this season with 22 points, including 11 goals, was also drafted 22nd overall by the Mississauga Steelheads in the 2021 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection.

23. This season, the Thunderbirds are celebrating their 23rd season in the NOJHL.

The Thunderbirds, who are in their 23rd season this year in the NOJHL, have also finished 6th overall in this year’s Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.

(Photo credit to Bob Davies)

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