Soo wins 20th in a row; Espanola ends mini slump



Release Date: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014

Soo wins 20th in a row; Espanola ends mini slump

SUDBURY – Two games on the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League docket Wednesday saw the Soo Thunderbirds win their 20th game in a row as they edged the Sudbury Nickel Barons 4-3 while the Espanola Rivermen built an early lead and held on the defeat the Elliot Lake Bobcats 5-4.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS 4 SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS 3 – A Joey Miller goal 7:43 into the third period proved to be the difference as the Thunderbirds winning streak reached 20 games with the narrow victory at McClelland Arena.

Each side would find the back of the net once in the first period with Dylan Callaghan connecting for Sudbury at 10:37 while Eric Hillock countered for Sault Ste. Marie four minutes later.

Special teams allowed the Nickel Barons to retake the lead early in the middle stanza as Jimmy Roy scored on the power play at 3:01.

The goals kept coming in the second with Anthony Miller tying things up for the Thunderbirds at 9:13 only to see the home side go back on top 44 later seconds courtesy of Kurtis Clouthier.

Gavin Burbach pulled the T-Birds back to even however a minute later as he buried his league-leading 35th of the season.

The lone effort of the final frame came off the stick of Joey Miller to extend the T-Birds winning ways.

Owen Headrick had two assists on the night for the visitors, including help set-up the deciding goal.

Joel Horodziejczyk made 30 stops to earn the triumph and also come away victorious in his 21st straight start.

Michael Muzyka faced 35 shots in a losing cause for Sudbury.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN 5 ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 4 – Brennen Dubchak scored once and added three assists to help Espanola snap a three-game winless drought as they held on to defeat Elliot Lake at Centennial Arena.

It was a perfect start for the Rivermen Ryan Atwood opened the scoring just 32 seconds after the opening face-off.

After Connor Gilmartin struck shorthanded at 3:33 Cray Roberge extended the cushion to 3-0 midway through the first period.

Espanola continued to roll notching a power play tally courtesy of Dubchak whose offensive efforts extended a current NOJHL-high consecutive game point streak to 23 straight games.

Elliot Lake managed to get on the board before the initial session was complete thanks to a man advantage marker by Jason Berube.

The Bobcats’ Ryan Fletcher brought his side to within a pair at 15:50 of the second only to see Roberge pot his second of night 49 seconds later to put the Rivermen back up by three.

Third period efforts by Fletcher and Aviv Milner made it close, but in the end it was the Rivermen who secured the two points.

Brandon Janke chipped with three assists for Espanola on the night with Bryan McFarlane having a couple of helpers for Elliot Lake.

Marc Terriault was the winning goaltender making 33 saves overall.

Alex Bitsakis started for the Bobcats and suffered the loss allowing five against on 25 attempts while Matt Young turned aside all 10 shots he saw in relief.

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