By Matt Stefano
After doubling up on the Blind River Beavers 4-2 at the Essar Centre on Sunday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were in Cochrane on Friday night in a battle for first place in the NOJHL.
With both teams tied for first in the NOJHL standings with 16 points each, these two clubs were also ranked in this week’s CJHL’s top 20 weekly rankings, with the Soo at No. 17 and Cochrane at No. 8.
The T-Birds fell by a score of 5-1 to the Cochrane Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre.
T-Birds leading scorer Matt Caruso had a power play goal with assists going to Mark Tassone and Jake Reed at 15:55 into the second period.
Crunch forward Braedan Cross had a pair of goals while Darian Harris also had a two point night with a power play goal and a helper.
Bailey Shaver and Connor Lovie had a power play goal each for the Crunch while Joseph Thielen, Konnar Dechaine, Rory Milne, Zack Anderson, Brandon McReynolds and Taylor Armbruster all recorded an assist each.
Brandon Gordon gave up 5 goals on 35 shots for the loss while Crunch goaltender Jacob Burhans made 33 stops for the win.
The T-Birds will continue their three game East Division road swing on Saturday night in Iroquois Falls against the Eskis at 7:30 p.m. from the Jus Jordan Arena.
During Friday night’s 5-1 loss to Cochrane, T-Birds leading scorer Matt Caruso was awarded a penalty shot at the 15:25 mark of the second period, but did not score.
(Photo of Matt Caruso credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)