By Matt Stefano
If you want to win hockey games, you need to have good special teams.
And that’s exactly what the Soo Thunderbirds showed to their fans on Friday night against the Elliot Lake Red Wings!
On Friday night, the Thunderbirds got a pair of power play tallies and a shortanded marker as they went on to defeat the Elliot Lake Red Wings by a score of 4-1 at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
“We just played our game and we kept working and working,” said Thunderbirds rookie forward Youssef Chaouachi. “We just followed our system and kept shooting at the net. We had some good opportunities and we made less mistakes than they (Elliot Lake) did and that gave us an advantage to win tonight’s game.”
The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead after the first period, getting power play tallies from Kaden Dundas and Tyson Doucette.
Dundas scored his 4th goal of the season on the power play at 13:52 from Creo Solomon and Youssef Chaouachi, which put the Soo up 1-0.
Doucette would then put the Thunderbirds up 2-0 with his 10th goal of the season on the power play from Cooper Foster and Andrew Gibson.
Doucette’s power play goal, also gave him his league-leading 7th power play goal of the season.
“The guys on our power play move the puck around well and they have a good nose for the net,” said Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “Doucer (Doucette) has been having a lot of success on the power play and he’s getting rewarded for it and that’s something we’ll definitely need in the future.”
With the Thunderbirds leading 2-1 with under eight minutes to go in the second period, rookie forward Youssef Chaouachi would then get a shorthanded tally at 12:17 from Kyle Trottier and Creo Solomon, which gave the Soo a 3-1 lead.
Chaouachi would then get his second of the night and 3rd goal of the season just 5:13 later from Kenny Belanger Jr. and Cooper Foster, which put the Soo up by a score of 4-1.
“Youssef played really well tonight,” Jarrett said. “This is what we expect out of him. He hasn’t played in a lot of games this season, but he works hard during every practice and we’ve been seeing it and tonight he got rewarded for it.”
Chaouachi, who finished the night with two goals and an assist, also gave himself his first career multi-point game.
“It honestly feels amazing,” Chaouachi said. “Everyone has been giving me a lot of support coming into this year and tonight I just kept my head down and kept working.”
Defenceman Kaden Laverdiere (power play) had the only goal for the Red Wings on Friday night with Ethan Mercer and Teegan Dumont picking up the assists.
Red Wings goaltender Colton Smith gave up 4 goals on 42 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Noah Metiver made 22 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Saturday night when they visit Blind River to take on the Blind River Beavers at the Blind River Community Centre.
Puck drop for that game is set for 7:00 p.m.
(Photo credit to Matt Stefano)