Thunderbirds come back to beat top team in the West

By Matt Stefano

After dropping a 3-2 decision to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners on Friday night at the John Rhodes Community Centre, the Soo Thunderbirds played their second game of a three-game home stand on Saturday night as they took on the Rayside Balfour Canadians, who entered Saturday night’s contest as the top team in the NOJHL’s West Division.

The Thunderbirds were also looking to snap their two-game losing streak on Saturday night.

After trailing 2-1 through two periods of play, the Thunderbirds scored four unanswered goals in the third period to go on to defeat the Rayside Balfour Canadians 5-2 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

It was also the third time this season the Thunderbirds ended up winning a game when trailing 2-1 heading into the third period.

Thunderbirds top scorer Nick Smith scored his 18th goal of the season just 1:54 into the first to give the Soo an early 1-0 lead.

Mark Tassone and Robert Calisti would draw the assists on Smith’s goal.

Canadians top scorer Jordan Spadafore would tie the game on the power play with his 3rd goal of the season at 13:04 from Matthew Neault and Brandon Atkins.

Evan Krassey’s 10th goal of the season on the power play at 17:32 from Shane Donovan gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play.

After a scoreless second period, it was all Thunderbirds in the third.

Mark Tassone’s first goal of the season at 10:33, tied things up at two.

Nick Smith and captain Ryan Mulligan had the assists on Tassone’s goal.

Nick Smith’s 19th goal of the season on the power play at 14:13 from Mark Tassone and Camaryn Baber gave the Thunderbirds a 3-2 lead.

Alex Acosta’s 5th goal of the season at 15:15 from Braden Robbins and Ryan Lawrence gave the Thunderbirds a two goal cushion.

Camaryn Baber scored his 5th goal of the season at 18:40 into an empty net from Nick Smith to make it a 5-2 game.

Since returning from the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit, Baber now has 2 goals and 1 assist in his last two games.

Brandon Gordon made 26 saves for the Thunderbirds victory while MacKenzie Savard gave up 4 goals on 45 shots in the Canadians loss.

The Thunderbirds will now conclude their three-game home stand on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. when they take on the Elliot Lake Wildcats at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

(Photo credit to Jim Egan)

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