T-Birds run over Express

By Matt Stefano

After winning their second straight game last Wednesday against Espanola by a score of 4-3 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Sudbury in Day 2 of the NOJHL Showcase, the Soo Thunderbirds returned home to the Essar Centre on Monday night looking to win their third straight game in a rematch against the Espanola Express.

Monday night also marked the T-Birds final home game for the month of October.

Second year forward Mark Tassone, who was goalless in his last seven games, opened the scoring just 55 seconds into the first with his 9th of season from Ryan Mulligan and Gage Stephney to put the Soo up 1-0.

Zach Senecal’s 12th from Jake Reed and Brendan Jay at 4:57 put the T-Birds up by two.

Then with just 2:28 to go in the first, Guelph Storm prospect Keegan Stevenson would get his 3rd goal of the season to put the Soo up 3-0 after twenty minutes.

Just 3:22 into the second period, it would be T-Birds rookie forward Noah Solinger getting his first career NOJHL goal to put the Soo up by four.

T-Birds leading scorer Matt Caruso would get his 9th of the season from Brendan Jay at 8:31 to put the Soo ahead 5-0.

Rookie forward Gage Stephney would get his 3rd goal of the season at 16:18 from Austin Kozluk to give the T-Birds a 6-0 lead through two.

Stephney, who notched a goal and an assist one game ago against the Express, also gave himself his second straight multi point game.

Overage forward Ryan Waterhouse extended his goal scoring streak to two games with his 5th as a T-Bird at 17:43 from Wyatt Villalta and Alec Allen as the Soo went on to blank the Espanola Express 7-0 at the Essar Centre.

Villalta’s assist on Waterhouse’s goal, also marked the first career NOJHL point for the T-Bird rookie defenceman.

Villalta, not to mention, is also the twin brother of Soo Greyhounds rookie goaltender Matthew Villalta.

Express goalie Kyle Alaverdy gave up 7 goals on 39 shots while T-Birds goalie Brandon Gordon made 13 saves for his second shutout of the season and sixth one on his NOJHL career.

Gordon’s sixth career shutout has now tied him with Joel Horodziejczyk (2012-2014) for second on the Soo Thunderbirds all time career shutout leaders list.

The T-Birds will be in Elliot Lake this Friday to take on the Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. from the Centennial Arena.


This past Sunday, former T-Bird and current Sudbury Wolves forward Darian Pilon had his first career two goal game in the OHL in a 5-3 win over the Oshawa Generals along with being named first star of the game.

(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)

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