T-Birds clinch playoff spot

By Matt Stefano

After losing their second straight game Saturday night against the Powassan Voodoos on Essar Centre ice, the Soo Thunderbirds had a road game less than 24 hours later as they travelled to Espanola to take on the Express on Sunday afternoon.

The last time these two teams met was back on December 1st at the Essar Centre, when the T-Birds blanked them 2-0, thanks to a pair of goals from captain Matt Caruso. The T-Birds also outshot the Express 56-15 that night.

On Sunday afternoon, the T-Birds snapped their two game losing streak as they doubled up on the Espanola Express 4-2 at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.

T-Birds forward Zach Senecal led the way offensively with a pair of goals, including an empty netter along with adding an assist.

Sixteen year old forward Keegan Stevenson chipped in with two assists on the afternoon.

Austin Kozluk (power play) and Matt Caruso had the other goals for the Soo while Ryan Mulligan, Kaidan McDonald and Noah Solinger all chipped in with an assist each.

Cameron Anklewich and Mackenzie Aiken had the goals for the Express while Jeb Paulsen, Blake Cudmore, Aaron Roschinsky and Jason Bednarski all chipped in with an assist each.

Logan Sawka gave up 3 goals on 37 shots in the loss while T-Birds rookie goaltender Dougie Newhouse picked up his eighth win in his eleventh game of the season, making 24 stops for the victory.

With the victory over Espanola this afternoon, the T-Birds have become the first team in the West to clinch a playoff spot.

The T-Birds will play their final road game for the month of January on Sunday the 22nd, when they visit the Chelmsford Arena at 6:30 p.m. to take on the Rayside Balfour Canadians.

(Photo of Zach Senecal credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)

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