T-Birds Remain Perfect At Home

By Matt Stefano

After defeating the Rayside Balfour Canadians 4-1 on Wednesday night at the Essar Centre, the Soo Thunderbirds welcomed the Powassan Voodoos for their first and only visit to Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday night.

These two clubs were also in the Canadian Junior Hockey League top 20 rankings this week, with the T-Birds at No. 3 and the Voodoos at No. 8.

After a scoreless first period, it would be Powassan getting on the board first with Nicky Grose getting his 7th of the season from Nick Siracuse and Eric Champagne at 1:48. Nathaniel MacLeod’s 13th goal (unassisted) at 16:01 gave the Voodoos a 2-0 lead heading into the third.

The T-Birds wasted no time to get on the board early in the third as Matt Caruso would notch his 9th goal of the season at 1:33 from Nathan Hebert and Drake Pilon to cut the lead to 2-1. Mark Tassone’s power play marker and 5th of the season from Nathan Hebert and Matt Caruso would tie things up with just under two minutes to go in regulation.

Matt Caruso’s 10th goal of the season and second of the game at 3:43 into overtime from Caleb Boman proved to be the winner as the T-Birds picked up a 3-2 win over Powassan and remain perfect at home (12-0).

“In the room, the boys were getting all fired up,” said Caruso, who scored the game winning goal on the first shot of the overtime period. “We knew we had to get two more goals to tie it up, we knew we were getting those two and we just went out there and gave it our all and it looks like we did that.”

Caruso, who finished off the night with two goals and a helper, got to wear the hard hat after the game, courtesy of his brother Mike, who wore it on Wednesday after notching a goal and a helper against Rayside.

The T-Birds outshot the Voodoos by a margin of 45-20.

“He’s a great goalie,” said Caruso of Powassan net minder Garrett Forrest. “The first period we didn’t get any pressure in front of the net there, the coach told us to get in front of the net, so we started doing that. We got more pucks to the net, more pressure to the net and we scored some goals from it.”

The Thunderbirds, who have now won two straight, will head on the road to take on the Rayside Balfour Canadians on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. from the Chelmsford Arena.

“Tonight was a great win and we are going to carry it over to tomorrow when we face Rayside,” concluded Caruso. “They’re going to come out hard, they were missing some key guys our last game, so we just need to keep going strong here and we’ll get the “W” tomorrow.”

T-Birds goalie Mario Culina made 18 saves for the win while Garrett Forrest gave up 3 goals on 45 shots.


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