By Matt Stefano
They’ve already clinched a playoff spot, but with still thirteen games remaining on their regular season schedule, the Soo Thunderbirds played their final game of the month of January on Sunday night as they made a visit to Elliot Lake to take on the Wildcats.
Soo Rivercity Motorsports Major Midget Thunderbirds top scorer Brock Santa Maria was also called up by the Soo Thunderbirds for Sunday night’s game.
In three games played with the Soo Thunderbirds this season, Santa Maria had no points, but was looking to get on the scoresheet in his fourth game.
The Thunderbirds, who were riding a seven game winning streak, won their eighth game in a row on Sunday night in Elliot Lake as they defeated the Wildcats by a score of 6-1 at Centennial Arena.
Barrie, Ontario native Tanner Mayne put the Soo up 1-0 with his fourth goal of the season at the 4:09 mark of the first from forward Brock Santa Maria.
Santa Maria also picked up his first career NOJHL point with his assist on Mayne’s tally.
The Thunderbirds would then go up 2-0 at the 6:35 mark of the first, courtesy of Spencer Van Tiem’s fourth goal of the season from defenceman Brady Caruso.
Heading into the second period up 2-0, the Thunderbirds would then get a goal just over eight minutes in.
Thunderbirds forward and NOJHL’s leading goal scorer Lucas Theriault buried his league leading twenty ninth goal of the season at 8:24 from Brady Caruso and Matthew Bazarin, giving his club a three-goal cushion.
Entering Sunday night’s game with nine goals on the season, Matthew Bazarin would then become the sixth Soo Thunderbird to hit double digit goals this season, scoring his tenth goal of the season on the power play at 14:54 from Lucas Theriault and Noah Boman, which gave the Soo a 4-0 lead after two periods of play.
The Cats then cut the Thunderbirds lead to 4-1 at the 8:10 mark of the third period, courtesy of Caleb Minns tenth goal of the season from Connor Taylor and Noah Minns.
Then, at the 12:29 mark of the third, Thunderbirds forward Lucas Theirualt would then get his second goal of the game and thirtieth goal of the season from Noah Boman and Brady Caruso, giving his club a 5-1 lead.
Theriault also became the first player in the NOJHL to hit the 30-goal plateau this season.
Just under a minute later, Thunderbirds added player Brock Santa Maria would then get another milestone.
After recording his first NOJHL point (assist) on the opening goal of the game, Santa Maria then scored his first NOJHL goal at the 13:12 mark of the third, making it a 6-1 game.
Tanner Mayne and Tristan Cicchello drew the assists on Santa Maria’s first NOJHL goal.
Wildcats goaltender Zion Miceli gave up six goals on twenty eight shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder William Anderson made twenty four saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now look to extend their winning streak to nine egames for the second time this season, when they visit Blind River on Monday, February 4th to take on the Beavers at 7:00 p.m. from the Blind River Community Centre.