By Matt Stefano
Today is Saturday, and that can only mean one thing.
Saturday night hockey takes place tonight at the John Rhodes Community Centre as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on the Espanola Express, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with a record of 12 wins, 3 losses, 1 overtime loss and 2 shootout losses, good for 27 points and are currently sitting in first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.
The Express, meanwhile, are entering tonight’s game sitting in fifth place in the NOJHL’s West Division with a record of 7 wins, 9 losses and 1 overtime loss, good for only 15 points.
This will also be the third meeting of the season between these two teams.
HEAD TO HEAD
In two meetings against the Express this season, the Thunderbirds have defeated them both times and have outscored them 8-2 overall.
Thunderbirds leading scorer Cooper Foster has led the way offensively against the Express this season with 4 points, including 2 goals and 2 assists.
BERRY ON BOARD
Looking at trades now, the Espanola Express have just brought in a player that started his season in the Beaver dam.
Just yesterday, the Espanola Express made a trade with the Blind River Beavers as they acquired 2002-birth-year forward Hunter Berry in exchange for 2004-birth-year-forward Kyle Caron.
As a member of the Beavers, Berry had 5 goals and 13 points in 16 games played.
Berry, who made his debut with the Express last night against the Soo Eagles, is still looking for his first point as a member of the Express.
So far this season, the Espanola Express have had the most success when it comes to scoring shorthanded.
The Express enter tonight’s game with a league-leading 6 shorthanded goals on the season.
Half of those goals have also come off the stick of Express rookie forward Kobe Braham.
BIRDS ON THE PENALTY KILL
On the Thunderbirds side of things now, the Thunderbirds are still having the most success when it comes to killing off penalties.
After going 9 for 10 on their penalty kill last night against Blind River, the Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with the league’s best penalty kill, operating at 87.5%.
GIBBY IS GOOD
Looking at individual players, Thunderbirds rookie blueliner and Soo Greyhounds 2021 4th round pick Andrew Gibson is entering tonight’s game as the top scoring defenceman in the NOJHL.
Despite being held off the scoresheet in last night’s 5-0 loss against the Blind River Beavers, Gibson still leads all NOJHL blueliners in goals (9), points (18) and power play tallies (6).
(Photo of Thunderbirds defenceman Kyle Trottier credit to Bob Davies)