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OFFICIAL SITE OF THE SOO THUNDERBIRDS JUNIOR A HOCKEY CLUB

Thunderbirds begin Centennial Cup tournament tonight vs Flin Flon

By Matt Stefano

It all starts tonight!

The Soo Thunderbirds will play their opening game of the 2022 Centennial Cup tournament (Presented by Tim Hortons) tonight at 6:00 p.m. as they will take on the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers at Affinity Place in Estevan, Saskatchewan.

And as we get set for tonight’s game, here’s what you need to know about both teams as we head in.

ONE SEVEN WAS LUCKY, THE OTHER SEVEN WAS UNLUCKY

The Soo Thunderbirds are entering this year’s Centennial Cup tournament as champions of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, after they defeated the Hearst Lumberjacks by a score of 3-2 in overtime in game 7 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League final last Thursday at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

It was also the first time in franchise history that the Thunderbirds won a game 7 of a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League final, after coming up short in 2001 (vs Rayside), 2010 (vs Abitibi), 2013 (vs North Bay) and in 2019 (Hearst).

The Bombers, meanwhile, ended up being unlucky in game 7 of their league final this year, as they lost by a score of 2-0 against the Estevan Bruins in game 7 of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League final back on May 6 at Affinity Place in Estevan, Saskatchewan.

AUTOMATIC BERTH

Despite losing in this year’s SJHL final to the Estevan Bruins, the Flin Flin Bombers still got an automatic berth into this year’s Centennial Cup tournament, due to the fact that they met the Centennial Cup host team (Estevan Bruins) in the SJHL final.

The Bombers, who got an automatic berth into this year’s Centennial Cup tournament, have never won the Centennial Cup before, but appeared once in the Centennial Cup final back in 2001, when they lost to the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks.

XAVIER XTREME

During the 2021-2022 regular season, Flin Flon Bombers defenceman Xavier Lapointe led all SJHL blueliners in scoring with 19 goals and 50 points in 58 games.

The 2002-birth-year defenceman was also named the SJHL’s Best Defenceman for the 2021-2022 regular season.

FOSTER VS SHIPPER

Tonight’s game between the Thunderbirds and the Bombers will feature a pair of rookies who have put up some good numbers in their leagues during the postseason.

Those two rookies are forwards Cooper Foster and Gabriel Shipper.

Foster, who is a 2005-birth-year forward, led all NOJHL rookies in scoring during the postseason with 8 goals 17 points in 15 games.

The Ottawa 67’s prospect also became the first Thunderbird rookie to finish first among all NOJHL rookies in postseason scoring since Drake Pilon did back in 2016.

Shipper, who is a 2001-birth-year forward, led all SJHL rookies in scoring during the postseason with 14 points, including 4 goals and 10 assists in 17
games.
Prior to joining the Bombers this season, the Sherman Oaks, California native split time last season with the NCDC’s Twin City Thunder and NA3HL’s Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers.
GET ER DUNDAS
During the 2022 NOJHL postseason, Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Kaden Dundas led all NOJHL blueliners in scoring with 14 points in 15 games.
The 18-year-old also became the first Thunderbird blueliner to finish first among all NOJHL defencemen in scoring during the postseason since Caleb Boman did back in 2016.
BIRTHDAY BOY ON ICE
Looking at birthdays now, today marks the 21st birthday for Flin Flon Bombers forward Matt Raymond.
Raymond, who is turning 21-years-old today, is one of eight 2001-birth-year players on the Bombers roster.
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