By Matt Stefano
Twenty four hours after falling 7-1 to the Soo Eagles at the Pullar Stadium, the Soo Thunderbirds returned to the John Rhodes Community Centre for the second game of a home and home series against their cross border rivals.
On Saturday night, the Thunderbirds split the home and home series against the Eagles, defeating them by a score of 2-1 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
“We had a short lineup and we weren’t satisfied after Friday night’s game, so it kinda motivated us for tonight (Saturday) and I thought we all battled hard,” said Thunderbirds forward Mark Tassone.
Mark Tassone’s first career shorthanded goal at the 17:23 mark of the second period from Nick Smith and Austin Heinrich, turned out to be the game winner for the Thunderbirds.
“It was a quick play and I give credit to Nick Smith, who made a nice pass to me,” continued Tassone. “It felt great to get that goal to put us ahead and we just continued to work hard in the third period to get the win.”
Despite missing a trio of veterans, including Braden King, Kaidan McDonald and captain Noah Solinger, the Thunderbirds were also without rookie forward Camaryn Baber for the fourth consecutive game.
Baber, who is currently playing with the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit, scored his first Ontario Hockey League goal on Friday night against former Thunderbird Keegan Stevenson and the Guelph Storm.
“I’m happy for Cam, who got his first goal on Friday night with Saginaw and we hope the other guys who are out of the lineup can get better and get healthy so we can get another two wins next weekend,” concluded Tassone.
Alex Acosta had the other goal for the Thunderbirds while Steven Bellini and Spencer Van Tiem recorded an assist each.
Gianni Vitali had a power play goal for the Eagles while Hayden Clark and Nick Techel had an assist each.
Thunderbirds goaltender Brandon Gordon made 23 saves for the win while Carter McPhail gave up 2 goals on 36 shots in the Eagles loss.
The Thunderbirds will now visit in Espanola on Saturday, February 17th for their final meeting of the regular season against the Express.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)