By Matt Stefano
The Soo Thunderbirds resumed regular season action Friday night against the Soo Eagles at the Essar Centre, and after 18 days off, the top team in the West were looking to open up the year 2017 with a win.
The T-Birds picked up their 27th win of the season Friday night as they defeated the Soo Eagles 5-2 at the Essar Centre.
“It’s definitely huge and it was just the first game back from the break. Everyone was ready to get going and right from the get go we put our work boots on and went to work,” said T-Birds captain Matt Caruso.
The T-Birds took a 3-1 lead after the first, had a scoreless middle period, and outscored the Eagles 2-1 in the third.
“We never panicked, we were pretty much on them the whole game. And I thought Gordie (Brandon Gordon) played really good, he gave us a lot of confidence and we turned it into offence and got the job done for him,” continued the T-Birds captain.
Caruso, who had two goals Friday night, included one shorthanded, has now hit the 20 goal plateau for the second straight year.
“I always have my teammates to thank for that. I wouldn’t be scoring goals unless anyone is assisting me, so I really have to give it to my teammates for setting me up. Keep pushing, they’re going to give me the puck and I’m going to give it back to them, and that’s how we score the goals,” concluded Caruso.
Mark Tassone had a goal and an assist for the T-Birds while Zach Senecal also had a two point game with a pair of assists.
Greg Smith and Ryan Waterhouse had the other goals for the T-Birds while Mike Winn, Brendan Jay and Alec Allen chipped in with an assist each.
Carmen Scarfone led the way offensively for the Eagles with two assists.
Jake Saxton and Jacob Palmerio had the goals for the Eagles while Brent Jones chipped in with one assist.
Brandon Gordon made 21 saves for the T-Birds win while Eagles goalie Kade Phipps gave up 5 goals on 25 shots in the loss.
The T-Birds will play their first road game of 2017 on Saturday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to take on the Soo Eagles at 7:00 p.m. from the Pullar Stadium.
On Friday night, T-Bird alumnus Boris Katchouk scored twice including the overtime winner to help the Soo Greyhounds to a 6-5 win over the Kitchener Rangers.
Katchouk, who scored his third overtime goal of the season, became the first Soo Greyhound to score three overtime goals in one season since Jordan Nolan (2008-2009).
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)