By Matt Stefano
After blanking the French River Rapids 8-0 at the Essar Centre this past Sunday afternoon and extending their unbeaten streak to eight games, the Soo Thunderbirds hit the road to Blind River on Friday night for their eighth and final meeting against the Beavers.
With only eight games left on their regular season schedule, the T-Birds came into Friday night’s game with an eleven point lead over the Beavers in the NOJHL’s West Division standings and had an opportunity to lock up first place in the West.
The T-Birds skated out of the Blind River Community Centre with a 2-1 victory over the Beavers and have clinched first place in the NOJHL’s West Division.
Guelph Storm prospect Keegan Stevenson, who leads all T-Bird rookies in scoring, hit the 10 goal plateau at 2:31 of the first period to give the Soo an early 1-0 lead.
Dylan McMahon’s 13th goal of the season at 4:43 from Anthony Bastianello, tied things up for the Beavers.
Austin Kozluk’s 22nd goal of the season at 9:31 from Mark Tassone and Greg Smith, proved to be the game winner for the T-Birds.
Brandon Gordon made 31 saves for the T-Birds victory while Myles Hektor gave up 2 goals on 46 shots in the Beavers loss.
The T-Birds, who are now West Division champions, will play their final road game for the month of February on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. against the Rayside Balfour Canadians at Chelmsford Arena.
(Photo of Brandon Gordon credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)