By Matt Stefano
It’s not over until it’s over!
That’s something the Soo Thunderbirds proved to their fans on Friday night in a home game against the Blind River Beavers.
The Thunderbirds, who trailed 4-0 in the opening twenty two minutes of the contest, came back to score six unanswered goals as they went on to defeat the Blind River Beavers 6-4 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
“Our first period was a little rough, but we just battled back and woke up a little bit,” said Thunderbirds captain Kaidan McDonald, who had a power play goal and two assists. “We’re a great team that can score some goals, so obviously we knew we could come back from being down 4-0.”
McDonald’s power play goal at the 16:17 mark of the third period, broke a 4-4 tie, and proved to be the game winner.
The Thunderbirds captain now leads the NOJHL in game winning goals with five.
“It feels great to get that game winner, but I just work hard and I love to win,” continued McDonald. “When we were tied near the end, I just wished to be the one to score that game winning goal.”
With the win, the Thunderbirds have now improved their record to 20 wins and 5 losses on the season, good for 40 points.
The Thunderbirds, who continue to sit first in the NOJHL’s West Division, have also moved five points ahead of the second place Beavers.
“It feels great, but we’re not done there because we just have to keep going and go for it,” continued McDonald.
Assistant captain Nick Smith led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds on Friday night, scoring an empty net goal and setting up three others.
Gage Stephney, who entered Friday night’s game with six points in six games, scored once and set up two others.
Stephney also gave himself back to back three point games.
Thunderbirds forward and NOJHL’s leading scorer Lucas Theriault had a pair of power play goals on Friday night, giving him the league lead in power play goals with nine.
Rookie forward Avery Rebek had one goal for the Thunderbirds on Friday night while Noah Boman, Tyler Malpass and Max Techel all chipped in with one assist each.
Sam Harris (power play), Ryan Peck, Tyler Nott and Brendan Young had the goals for the Beavers while Nathan Balkwill, Lucas Adams, Riley Nadeau, Justin Mauro and Ethan Graham all chipped in with one assist each.
Sooite Garrett Boyonoski gave up five goals on thirty seven shots in the Beavers loss while Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin native Colin Ahern made eighteen stops for the Thunderbirds victory.
The Thunderbirds will now get set for a two-game road trip, beginning in Elliot Lake on Saturday night, followed by a stop in Espanola on Sunday afternoon.
“We are going to take some things from this game that we’re going to bring into this weekend,” concluded McDonald. “We’re going to tighten up a little bit and I think we’re going to do well.”
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)