By Matt Stefano
It’s been almost two weeks since the Thunderbirds were last in action on the ice, but on Friday night, the Thunderbirds played their first game of the month of February against the their cross-border rivals, the Soo Eagles.
The Thunderbirds, who were looking to extend their winning streak to nine games on Friday night, ended up falling short as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Eagles at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
After a scoreless opening period, the Thunderbirds fell 2-1 after the second, trailed 4-1 halfway through the third, but got a pair of late goals from Brendan Miller and Nick Smith, which made it a one goal game.
“I though we played terrible honestly,” said Thunderbirds assistant captain Nick Smith. “We came out strong, but we fell apart after the second and then nothing went out way after that.”
Friday night’s game, was the Thunderbirds first game since January 27th, when they defeated the Elliot Lake Wildcats 6-1 in Elliot Lake.
The Soo was then supposed to play in Blind River on February 4th, but that game got postponed due to inclement weather and hazardous highway conditions.
“At the start of the game, everyone had almost like bus legs to get out,” continued Smith.
With the Thunderbirds trailing 2-1 at the end of the second period, Smith was awarded a penalty shot at the 20:00 mark of the second, but did not score.
“I went in and I did the move I wanted to do,” continued Smith, “I tried to get it up, but I didn’t get it high enough.”
After failing to score on the penalty shot, Smith would then get his twenty fifth goal of the season on the power play, which at that time cut the Eagles lead 4-3 with 2:29 left in the third.
Smith’s twenty fifth goal of the season, also gave him seventy first career goal, which tied Anthony Miller (2012-2015) for sixth on the Soo Thunderbirds all-time career goals list.
“It feels good, but I’m just going to try to score more goals to win some games,” continued Smith.
Lucas Theriault had the other goal for the Thunderbirds while Spencer Van Tiem, Gage Stephney and Tristan Cicchello had one assist each.
Noah Boman led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds, setting up two goals.
Kobe Keller led the way offensively for the Eagles, scoring a power play goal and setting up two others while Riley Jensen also got on the scoresheet with one goal.
Dominic Skrelja had a power play goal and an assist for the Eagles while Brendan Blair also had a big night offensively with a goal and an assist.
Hayden Clark also had a two-point night for the Eagles, setting up two goals.
Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern gave up four goals on twenty nine shots in the loss while Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato made twenty nine saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Saturday night for a rematch against the Eagles at Pullar Stadium.
“We’re going to have to prepare a lot better,” concluded Smith. “A lot of things happen quicker because the rink is so small at the Pullar, so we just have to be mentally prepared and go out and play hard.”
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)