By Matt Stefano
They haven’t played against each other in 587 days, but now they will be back at it again tonight!
The International Bridge rivalry returns tonight at the John Rhodes as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on their cross-border rivals, the Soo Eagles, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The Eagles are entering tonight’s game with a record of 3 wins and 2 losses while the Thunderbirds are coming in with a record of 4 wins, 1 loss and 1 shootout loss.
The Thunderbirds also received honourable mention in this week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20 Rankings.
The last time the Thunderbirds and Eagles met, was back on February 29, 2020, when the Eagles defeated the Thunderbirds by a score of 4-3 at the Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
That game was also the final game on the Soo Thunderbirds 2019-2020 regular season schedule.
After that, the Thunderbirds did not get to see postseason action due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOT GIVING UP MUCH
So far this season, the Thunderbirds have done a great job keeping pucks out of their net.
Heading into tonight’s game, the Thunderbirds have given up the least goals against in the entire NOJHL, only letting in 13.
OUELLET LEADING THE WAY
After recording back to back multi-point games just last weekend, Thunderbirds rookie forward Kelsey Ouellet now finds himself sitting first in team scoring.
Ouellet enters tonight’s game as the Thunderbirds top scorer with 7 points (2g 5a) in 6 games.
LEADING THE WAY FOR THE EAGLES
Looking at the Soo Eagles now, forward Chase Tallaire is off to a rocket start!
Tallaire currently leads the Eagles in scoring with 7 points (6g 1a) in 5 games.
The St. Ignace, Michigan native also enters tonight’s game on a four-game point scoring streak.
THE BIRDS ARE KILLERS
So far this season, the Thunderbirds have had the most success when it comes to killing off penalties.
The Thunderbirds enter tonight’s game with the best penalty kill in the entire NOJHL, operating at 93.3%.
And when you look at their last two games, the Thunderbirds went a perfect 6 for 6 on the penalty kill in their home game against Espanola last Saturday, before going a perfect 7 for 7 on the penalty kill in their road game against Blind River this past Sunday.
GIBBY JOINS THE NEST
After recording 1 assist in 2 exhibition games with the Soo Greyhounds during the 2021 preseason, it was announced yesterday that Soo Greyhounds prospect Andrew Gibson has been sent down to the Soo Thunderbirds.
Gibson, who was drafted by the Soo Greyhounds in the 4th round (67th overall) this past April, spent last season with the Windsor Zone Jr. Spitfires Under-16 hockey club.
The 6 foot 2 and 185 pound blueliner also signed with the Soo Thunderbirds back on July 14.
(Photo of Thunderbirds forward Brock Santa Maria credit to Bob Davies)