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OFFICIAL SITE OF THE SOO THUNDERBIRDS JUNIOR A HOCKEY CLUB

Soo Thunderbirds: By The Numbers 1-50

By Matt Stefano

It’s been almost one month since the Soo Thunderbirds closed out their 22nd season in the NOJHL.

And yes, it was a season that only lasted 21 games due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, but it was a still a season that saw the Thunderbirds finish in first place in the NOJHL’s West Division.

And with the 2021 offseason almost a month old, let’s take look at some of the interesting numbers that our team and past players have put up over the years.

Here are numbers 1-50:

1. After spending one season with the Soo Thunderbirds back in 1999-2000, Thunderbirds forward Patrick Jarrett ended up being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Jarrett, who was selected first overall by the Mississauga IceDogs in the 2000 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, spent five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-2005, splitting time with the Mississauga IceDogs and Owen Sound Attack.

2. That’s how many times the Thunderbirds have won the Dudley Hewitt Cup in their twenty-two years in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

The Thunderbirds won their first Dudley Hewitt Cup title back in 2012, before going on to capture their second Dudley Hewitt Cup title in 2015.

To date, the Thunderbirds are just one of two NOJHL teams to win the Dudley Hewitt Cup (Central Canada Junior A Champions).

The only other NOJHL team that has won the Dudley Hewitt Cup are the Rayside Balfour Sabrecats, who have won it three times (1997, 2000 & 2002).

3. That’s the number defenceman Kyle Jones wore on the back of his jersey as a member of  the Thunderbirds.

Jones, who played with Thunderbirds from 2000-2005, also holds the team record for most career points by a Thunderbird defenceman with 95.

4. Is the number of times the Thunderbirds have won the Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy (NOJHL Playoff Champions).

The Thunderbirds won their first Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy title back in 2009, before going on to win their second one three years later in 2012.

The Thunderbirds then captured back to back Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy titles in 2015 & 2016.

5. The team record for most shutouts by a Thunderbird goaltender in a regular season is 5.

That record is shared by Frank Novello (2001), John Kleinhans (2012) and Brandon Gordon (2017).

6. At the 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament, forward Boris Katchouk led the Thunderbirds in scoring with 6 points.

Katchouk, who also led the Thunderbirds to a Dudley Hewitt Cup title in 2015, is now a member of the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch.

7. David Borrelli holds the team record for most points by Thunderbird player in a single game with 7.

8. That’s the round former Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Jeff Weber was drafted in by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Weber, who played five games with the Thunderbirds back in the 2001-2002 season, had a record of 3 wins and 2 losses.

He also had a four-year Ontario Hockey League career from 2001-2005, where he split time with the Soo Greyhounds, Plymouth Whalers, Barrie Colts and Saginaw Spirit.

To date, Weber is the only Thunderbird alumni goaltender to be drafted by a National Hockey League team.

9. That’s how many hat tricks forward Jeff Rainville had back in the 2002-2003 season.

No other player in franchise history had that many hat tricks in a regular season.

10. That’s the number forward Matt Pinder wore on the back of his jersey during his two seasons with the Thunderbirds from 2014-2016.

Pinder, who wore No. 10, led the Thunderbirds in goals at the 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament with 4.

He also scored the game-winning goal against the Fort Frances Lakers in the 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup championship game on May 2, 2015.

11. That’s the number of shutouts goaltender Brandon Gordon had during his three-year career with the Thunderbirds from 2015-2018.

His 11 career shutouts are also the most among all Soo Thunderbird goaltenders.

12. That’s how many goals forward Keegan Stevenson scored in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2016-2017.

After scoring 12 times in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds, Stevenson then went on to play three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm from 2017-2020.

Stevenson, who also helped the Storm win the J. Ross Robertson Cup in 2019, has recently committed to play for the Acadia Axemen hockey club for the 2021-2022 season.

13. That’s the round former Thunderbirds forward Jake Kovacs was drafted in by the Barrie Colts in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Kovacs, who spent one season with the Thunderbirds in 2019-2020, led the club in scoring that season with 27 goals and 58 points in 55 games, before becoming just the fourth player in Thunderbirds history to be drafted by an Ontario Hockey League team.

14. That’s how many goals forward Matt Caruso scored during the 2015 postseason.

Caruso, who scored 14 goals in the 2015 postseason, currently holds the team record for most goals by a Thunderbird player in a single postseason.

15. Was the number that forward Matt Dias wore on the back of his jersey during his time with the Soo Thunderbirds from 2003-2005.

Dias, who then went on to have a four-year Ontario Hockey League career with the Sudbury Wolves, still wore No. 15 even as a member of the Wolves.

16. Was the number that forward Lucas Theriault wore on the back of his jersey in his final season with the Thunderbirds in 2018-2019.

Theriault, who also won the NOJHL Scoring Title in his final season in 2018-2019, then went on to play one season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs in 2019-2020.

17. That’s the number forward Avery Rebek wore on the back of his jersey during his three full seasons with the Thunderbirds from 2017-2021.

Rebek, who wore No. 17, also served as the Thunderbirds captain in his final season with them in 2020-2021.

18. Is the number of power play goals forward Brett Perlini had in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds back in 2006-2007.

To date, Perlini’s 18 power play goals remains the team record for most power play tallies in a regular season by a Thunderbird player.

19. Is the most goals the Thunderbirds have scored in a single game.

In a home game against the Blind River Beavers back on January 13, 2002, the Thunderbirds scored 19 times as they went on to defeat the Beavers by a score of 19-4.

20. That’s how many points defenceman Robert Calisti put up in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2017-2018.

Following his 20-point season with the Thunderbirds, the Toronto, Ontario native then earned a full-time roster spot with the Ontario Hockey League’s Soo Greyhounds in the 2018-2019 season.

Calisti, who is now a star defenceman with the Greyhounds, also suited up for one game with the American Hockey League’s Belleville Senators back on March 15, 2021.

During that game, Calisti also picked up one assist.

21. That’s the most road wins the Thunderbirds have had in a regular season.

22. In the 2018-2019 season, Lucas Therault had a total of 22 second period goals, which set the team record for most second period goals by a Thunderbird player in a regular season.

23. In two seasons played with the Thunderbirds from 2014-2016, defenceman Caleb Boman scored a total of 23 career goals.

He also holds the team record for most career goals by a Thunderbird defenceman.

24. Back in the 2004-2005 season, forward Ryan Maunu went on a 24-game point streak, which lasted from December 5, 2004 – March 12, 2005.

To date, Maunu also holds the team record for the longest consecutive point streak by a Thunderbird player.

25. In the 2013-2014 season, the Thunderbirds went on a 25-game winning streak, which lasted from November 16, 2013 – February 14, 2014.

That season, their 25-game winning steak also set the franchise record for the longest consecutive winning streak in a regular season.

26. That’s the number forward Camaryn Baber wore on the back of his jersey in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds back in 2017-2018.

Baber, who is now a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit, still wears the same number (No. 26) he wore with the Thunderbirds.

27. In the 2015-2016 season, the Thunderbirds had a perfect home record, going a perfect 27-0 on home ice.

28. The Thunderbirds finished the 2020-2021 season in first place in the NOJHL’s West Division with 28 points.

29. That’s the number of wins goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk had in his second season with the Thunderbirds back in 2013-2014.

Horodziejczyk, who had 29 wins that season, also set the team record for most wins by a Thunderbird goaltender in a single season.

30. Was the number of points defenceman Colin Miller had in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2009-2010.

Miller is now a member of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres.

31. That’s how many goals forward Matt Caria had in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2004-2005.

Caria, who scored 31 goals that season as a sixteen-year-old, then went on to have four-year Ontario Hockey League career from 2005-2009.

During his four years in the Ontario Hockey League, Caria split time with the Toronto/Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, Soo Greyhounds and Plymouth Whalers.

32. In the 2014-2015 season, forwards Nick Tassone and Jaren Bellini finished tied for first in team goals with 32 each.

33. Owen Headrick holds the team record for most career playoff points by a Thunderbird defenceman with 33.

35. That’s how many goals forward Nick Smith had with the Thunderbirds back in the 2017-2018 season.

Smith, who had 35 goals that season, also had a 5-goal performance back on October 18, 2017, in a 12-1 victory over the Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

36. Forward Nick Minardi had 36 goals and 36 assists in his final season with the Thunderbirds back in 2008-2009.

Minardi, who also served as the Thunderbirds captain in 2008-2009, led the Thunderbirds to their first ever Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy title in franchise history.

37. In the 2018-2019 season, defenceman Steven Bellini led all NOJHL blueliners in assists with 37.

38. Forward Ryan Corcoran had 38 goals in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2000-2001.

Corcoran, who also finished the 2000-2001 season with a league-leading 86 points, became the first player in Thunderbirds history to win the NOJHL Scoring Title.

39. That’s how many career assists defenceman Shawn Bibeau had during his time with the Thunderbirds from 2006-2008.

40. In the 2018-2019 season, forward Lucas Theriault led the NOJHL in goals with 40.

41. That’s how many assists forward Matt Caruso had in his third and final season with the Thunderbirds back in 2016-2017.

Caruso, who had 41 assists that season, also finished first in team scoring with 70 points.

42. In the 2015-2016 season, forwards Jaren Bellini and Brett Jeffries finished tied for fifth in team scoring with 42 points each.

That season, Bellini and Jeffries also helped the Thunderbirds win their second straight Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy.

43. That’s how many goals forward Micky Sartoretto had in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2011-2012.

Sartoretto, who also served as the Thunderbirds captain that season, led the Thunderbirds to their second Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy title, followed by their first ever Dudley Hewitt Cup title in franchise history.

The thirty-year-old now serves as an assistant coach of the Thunderbirds.

44. That’s how many wins the Thunderbirds had during the 2018-2019 season.

To date, those 44 wins remain the third most in franchise history.

45. Was the number of assists forward D. J. Jelitto had in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2003-2004.

Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, Jelitto played the 2002-2003 season in the Ontario Hockey League, where he split time with the Sarnia Sting and Saginaw Spirit.

46. In the 2018-2019 season, defenceman Steven Bellini finished tied with Soo Eagles blueliner Brendan Blair for first among NOJHL blueliners in scoring with 46 points.

That season, Bellini was also named the NOJHL’s Best Defenceman of the Year.

47. That’s the number of wins the Thunderbirds had back in the 2015-2016 season.

To date, those 47 wins remain the second most in NOJHL history.

48. Was the number of wins the Thunderbirds had back in the 2013-2014 season, which was the year they also finished first in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.

To date, those 48 wins remain the NOJHL record for most wins by a team in a regular season.

49. That’s the number of assists forward Fred Coccimiglio had in his only season with the Thunderbirds back in 2000-2001.

Coccimiglio, who had 49 assists that season, now serves as a scout with the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds.

50. Forwards David Borrelli and Jeff Rainville are the only two players in franchise history to have 50-goal seasons.

Borrelli was the first player in franchise history to have a 50-goal season back in 2001-2002, before Jeff Rainville (56) did back in 2002-2003.

(Photo credit to Matt Stefano)

 

 

 

 

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