By Matt Stefano
Wednesday night hockey takes place tonight at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, as the Soo Thunderbirds will take on the Blind River Beavers in their second meeting of the season, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
The Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with a record of 7 wins, 6 losses and 1 shootout loss, good for 15 points and are currently in fourth place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.
The Thunderbirds, who are also currently riding a three-game winning streak, are also coming off a 4-3 overtime victory against the Hearst Lumberjacks back on Sunday afternoon.
The Beavers, meanwhile, are entering tonight’s game with a record of 10 wins, 3 losses and 1 shootout loss, good for 21 points and are currently in second place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.
HEAD TO HEAD
In their first meeting of the season back on Tuesday, October 11, the Thunderbirds defeated the Beavers by a score of 4-1 at the Blind River Community Centre in Blind River, which gave the Beavers just their second loss of the season and their first loss on home ice.
During that game, forwards Dharan Cap and Ethan Novello led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds with a goal and an assist each while rookie goaltender Landon Miller made 30 saves for the victory.
During Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 overtime victory against the Hearst Lumberjacks at the John Rhodes, Thunderbirds newly signed forward Wyatt Marlow scored twice, including the overtime winner, good for his first career multi-goal game.
Since signing with the Thunderbirds back on October 2, Marlow has put up 4 points, including 3 goals and 1 assist in just 4 games played.
With Marlow in the lineup, the Thunderbirds have a record of 4 wins and 0 losses.
MR. BURNS IN NET
In 7 games played with the Beavers so far this season, Beavers rookie netminder and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Charlie Burns has posted a record of 4 wins, 2 losses, 1 shootout loss and 2 shutouts.
Burns, who is entering tonight’s game with 2 shutouts, is currently tied with Timmins Rock goaltender Patrick Boivin for first among all NOJHL goaltenders in shutouts this season.
At the 2022 NOJHL Showcase, which was held in Greater Sudbury earlier this month, Burns picked up back-to-back shutouts, beginning with an 8-0 win over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners back on October 4, followed by a 6-0 victory over the French River Rapids back on October 5.
This year, Burns also became the first goalie in NOJHL history to record back-to-back shutouts during an NOJHL Showcase.
This past April, Burns was also drafted 167th overall by the Niagara IceDogs in the 2022 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
B.M.B. ON THE BLUELINE
Since signing with the Soo Thunderbirds back on October 3, rookie defenceman Brodie McConnell-Barker has recorded at least one point in all six of his games played this season.
In Sunday afternoon’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks, McConnell-Barker also led the way offensively with three assists, which extended his point-scoring streak to six games.
McConnell-Barker, who has recorded points in all six of his games played this season, is the first NOJHL defenceman to start a season on a 6-game point-scoring streak since Ryan Mooney (2015-2016, Rayside Balfour Canadians) and Andrew Cordssen-David (2015-2016, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners).
(Photo of Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Brodie McConnell-Barker credit to Bob Davies)