Thunderbirds and Rock meet for the first time in over two years

By Matt Stefano

Are you ready to rock?

Because the Thunderbirds take on the Rock tonight!

Saturday night hockey takes place tonight at the John Rhodes Community Centre as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on the Timmins Rock, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Thunderbirds are entering tonight’s game with a record of 23 wins, 5 losses, 2 overtime losses and 3 shootout losses, good for 51 points and first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

The Soo is also currently riding a three-game winning streak, and will be looking to extend their winning streak to four games for the second time this season.

The Rock, meanwhile, are coming into tonight’s game with a record of 25 wins, 5 losses, 1 overtime loss and 1 shootout loss, good for 52 points and third place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings.

The Rock, who are coming off a 5-4 overtime victory last night in Soo Michigan, are also currently riding a three-game winning streak.

Tonight will also be the Rock’s first visit to Sault, Ontario in over two years.


The last time these two teams met was back on January 5, 2020, when the Thunderbirds defeated the Rock by a score of 2-1 at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.

That day, the Thunderbirds got goals from Jake Kovacs and Kurtis Rogers (game-winner) while netminder Sam Evola made 43 saves for the victory.


Tonight’s game against the Timmins Rock will mark the return of defenceman Cameron Dutkiewicz.

Dutkiewicz, who was traded from the Thunderbirds to the Rock back on June 2, currently leads all Rock defencemen in scoring with 29 points, including 12 goals and 17 assists in 29 games played.

The 20-year-old blueliner, who scored his 12th goal of the season back on December 19, also set the team record for most goals by a Rock defenceman in a regular season, passing Josh Anderson (2018-2019 & 2019-2020), who held the previous record with 11.

As a member of the Thunderbirds last season (2020-2021), Dutkiewicz finished first among all NOJHL blueliners in points (19), goals (9) and power play tallies (6).


Sticking with the blueline, Thunderbirds rookie defenceman and Soo Greyhounds prospect Andrew Gibson has been getting lots accomplished so far this season!

Gibson, who is in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds, currently leads all NOJHL blueliners in goals (16), points (36) and power play tallies (9).

The 17-year-old, who enters tonight’s game with 16 goals, already owns the Thunderbirds record for most goals by a defenceman in a regular season.

The previous record was previously held by Caleb Boman, who had 14 back in 2015-2016.

Gibson, who also enters tonight’s game with 36 points, also owns the franchise record for most points by a rookie defenceman during a regular season.

The previous record was held by Barnabas Birkeland, who had 34 back in 2002-2003, which was the season the Soo Thunderbirds had their name get changed to the Sault Jr. Greyhounds.


Looking back to the Timmins side of things now, Timmins Rock second-year forward Henry Brock has been on a roll in his last three games.

Brock, who is currently in his second season with the Rock, is entering tonight’s game on a three-game goal-scoring streak.

Entering tonight’s game, the 2003-birth-year forward currently has 9 goals and 20 points in 27 games played.

Brock, who is from Toronto, Ontario, was also drafted by the Soo Greyhounds in the 3rd round (44th overall) in the 2020 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection.

(Photo of Thunderbirds defenceman Andrew Gibson credit to Bob Davies)



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