By Matt Stefano
After beating the Soo Eagles 4-1 on Saturday night on Essar Centre ice and setting their new franchise record to twenty five straight home wins, the Soo Thunderbirds took on the Espanola Express in a Sunday afternoon home game.
After leading the Express 1-0 after the first, the T-Birds exploded for five more goals in the second to go on to 6-0 win over Espanola.
“I thought we played well this afternoon,” said T-Birds assistant captain Matt Mitchell, who had a goal and an assist. “We had a lot of shots, we played our systems very well too and I think everything came out very well.”
Mitchell, who is currently in his overage season, is also having a career year with twelve goals and seventeen assists through fifty games played thus far.
“I think it’s going well,” continued the T-Birds assistant captain. “I’m just trying to play a little more offence this year and it seems to be working out so I can’t ask for anything else.”
The T-Birds, who have now won all twenty six of their home games, will have one more home game on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Elliot Lake Wildcats at the John Rhodes Community Centre, and will look to end the 2015-2016 regular season with a perfect home record.
“I think a perfect home record would be great,” said Mitchell. “You know, come into playoffs and if we just win every game at home we will be fine.”
Mitchell, who is also in his final year of Junior A hockey, helped the T-Birds to three straight regular season titles, led the team in penalty minutes one season ago with sixty eight along with helping them clinch the Central Canada championship title (Dudley Hewitt Cup).
“Going back to where we were last year would definitely be the top goal right now,” concluded Mitchell. “It would definitely be a great end to my career.”
Matt Mitchell’s twelfth of the season from Joey Miller and Zach Senecal at 7:11 made it 1-0 T-Birds after one.
Drake Pilon’s sixteenth from Izaak Del Mastro and Nolan Makkonen made it a 2-0 game at 5:38 into the second. Matt Caruso’s twenty seventh from Jake Behse and Brandon Grandinetti made it a 3-0 game at 7:42. Darian Pilon’s fifteenth from Matt Mitchell and Brandon Grandinetti at 11:17 made it 4-0. 1:42 later, it would be overage forward Joey Miller getting his sixteenth from Ryan Mulligan and Zach Senecal to put the Soo up 5-0. Then, at the 14:47 mark of the second, it would be Matt Caruso getting his second of the afternoon and twenty eighth of the season from Darian Pilon and Matt Pinder to make it a 6-0 game.
No scoring happened in the third, but the T-Birds went on to blank the Espanola Express 6-0 at the Essar Centre and kept their perfect home record alive at 26-0.
T-Birds rookie goaltender Brandon Gordon, who made eighteen stops in a 4-0 win in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Friday night, made fourteen saves for his second straight shutout on Sunday afternoon against Espanola.
Express goaltender Simon Wood gave up six goals on forty four shots.
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin)