Special teams cost Thunderbirds

By Matt Stefano

After defeating the Elliot Lake Wildcats 4-3 on Friday night at Centennial Arena and picking up their 29th victory of the season, the Soo Thunderbirds were in Blind River on Saturday night for their second straight road game.

The Thunderbirds, who entered Friday night’s game as the top team in the West Division with 61 points, took on the second place Blind River Beavers, who were sitting 5 points behind the Soo.

Not only was this the sixth meeting of the season between these two teams, but it was also the first time the Soo took on their former captain Ryan Mulligan since trading him to the Beavers back on December 28th.

Special teams were a big part of Saturday night’s game as the Thunderbirds lost to the Beavers by a score of 5-1 at the Blind River Community Centre.

Thunderbirds forward Nick Smith scored his 32nd goal of the season on the power play from Camaryn Baber and Steven Bellini at the 9:07 mark of the third period.

Former Soo Thunderbirds forward Zach Senecal, who was acquired by the Beavers from the Trenton Golden Hawks back on January 8th, scored a shorthanded goal and added an assist for Blind River.

Max Khull had a power play goal and an assist for the Beavers while Matthew Murray and Dylan McMahon had a power play goal each.

Tristen Bernard’s 4th goal of the season at the 19:41 mark of the third period, was the only even strength goal of the game, which made it 5-1 in favour of the Beavers.

Caleb Serre had a pair of assists for the Beavers while Jack Rudin and Ryan Mulligan set up a goal each.

Thunderbirds goaltender Brandon Gordon gave up 5 goals on 48 shots in the loss while Beavers goaltender Cam Bruggrabe earned second star of the game, making 47 saves for the victory.

With the loss, the Soo now holds a three point lead over the Blind River Beavers for first place in the West Division.

The Soo, not to mention, still has four games in hand.

The Thunderbirds will now hope to get their 30th win of the season on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., when they face the Rayside Balfour Canadians at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

(Photo of Nick Smith credit to Jim Egan)

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