By Matt Stefano
After beating the Espanola Express 5-1 at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex last Friday, the Soo Thunderbirds returned to Essar Centre ice on Monday night for their second straight meeting against the Express.
The teams would skate scoreless after the first period until Aiden Salerno’s 3rd goal of the season from Zach Senecal and Izaak Del Mastro at 12:59 into the middle frame put the T-Birds up 1-0 after two.
Dominik Lavergne would tie things up for the Express at 7:16 with his 10th from Jason Bednarski and Patrick Smith. Jaren Bellini’s 22nd at 10:24 from Matt Caruso put the Soo up 2-1 before Adam McPhail’s 2nd of the season on the power play from Brandon Grandinetti and Matt Busby at 15:27 into the third was enough as the Soo went on to a 3-1 victory over the Espanola Express.
“I think it was a pretty good game for the two days we had off,” said T-Birds forward Adam McPhail. “We got off to a bit of a slow start, but I thought we picked it up as the game went on.”
The win also extended the Soo Thunderbirds perfect home record to 21 straight.
“I think it’s tough anytime you play a team back to back like this,” continued McPhail. “We won 5-1 on Friday night in Espanola and obviously they wanted to come into our barn and show they had something to prove. But I thought we had a pretty good game and kept them to a limited amount of shots tonight.”
Since coming over to play for his hometown Soo Thunderbirds in January, McPhail now has 2 goals and 1 assist through 5 games played.
“It’s been great coming home,” concluded McPhail. “I obviously came to an unbelievable team here and I think it’s just getting back into the program here and doing the same things right everyday along with improving until the end of the season.”
Brandon Gordon made 8 saves for the T-Birds win while Express goalie Kevin Labelle earned first star of the game, giving up 3 goals 45 shots.
The T-Birds are back in action at home this Saturday, February 13th at 7:30 p.m. against the Elliot Lake Wildcats from the Essar Centre.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)