By Matt Stefano
Wednesday night marked the sixth meeting of the year between the Soo Thunderbirds and Blind River Beavers at the Essar Centre and with the Soo up 4-1 in the season series, a win by the T-Birds would’ve clinched the Provenzano Cup.
Zak Lambrecht’s 19th goal of the season put the Beavers up 1-0 just 4:34 into the first. Caleb Serre and Jacob Elrod would draw the assists.
The Soo would tie things up at 10:27, courtesy of Austin Kozluk’s 15th goal in a T-Bird uniform. Forward Sean Emmerson, who made his debut with the T-Birds on Wednesday night, would draw the only assist on Kozluk’s tally.
Wyatt Villalta, who was recently added to Team East for the upcoming CJHL Prospects Game taking place on January 25th, put the T-Birds up 2-1 with 2:56 left to go in the first. Rookie forwards Nick Smith and Keegan Stevenson recorded assists on what would be Villalta’s 2nd goal of his NOJHL season.
With the T-Birds leading 2-1 after one, the next goal of the game did not come until the 20:00 mark of the second period, when Caleb Serre’s 12th goal of the season on a penalty shot, tied the game up at two.
Zak Lambrecht’s second of the game and 20th of the season with 10:20 to go in regulation proved to be the game winner, as the Beavers gave the T-Birds just their second home ice loss of the season, defeating them 3-2 at the Essar Centre.
Hendersonville, Tennessee native Brock Brown picked up the lone assist on Lambrecht’s game winning goal.
Aidan Doak turned aside 33 shots for the Beavers victory while Brandon Gordon gave up 3 goals on 20 shots in the loss.
The T-Birds will now take on the second best team in Canada, the Powassan Voodoos on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. from the Essar Centre.
All Sault Minor hockey players will get into the game for free if they wear their team jersey or jacket.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)