Thunderbirds defeat eighth best team in Canada

By Matt Stefano

After opening up the year 2020 with a 5-4 overtime victory in Espanola this past Friday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on John Rhodes ice for their first home game of the new year on Sunday afternoon as they took on the Timmins Rock, who came in as the eighth best team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

Sunday afternoon’s game also marked the home debut of newly acquired defenceman Jordan Broome, who came over to the Thunderbirds in a trade with the PJHL’s Styner Siskins last month.

Despite being outshot 44-17 overall, the Thunderbirds came out with a win on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Timmins Rock by a score of 2-1 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

“We kept the game simple and got pucks in deep,” said Thunderbirds rookie forward Kurtis Rogers.

Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Evola was named the Subway First Star Of The Game, making his season high 43 saves for the victory.

“Sammy played unreal for us today and saved a ton of shots, but we buried our chances, played well in the defensive end and got the win,” continued Rogers.

After a scoreless opening period, all the goals were then scored in the middle frame.

Rookie forward Jake Kovacs, who notched the overtime winner in Espanola back on Friday night, opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds at the 8:10 mark of the second period, before Rock forward Stewart Parnell tied things up at one at the 14:14 mark of the middle frame.

Thunderbirds rookie forward Kurtis Rogers would then notch his seventh goal of the season with 4:18 left to go in the second period, putting the Soo ahead 2-1.

“Both goals by us today were five hole,” continued Rogers. “Kovacs went five hole on his goal and I had a one timer from the slot that also went five hole.”

Roger’s seventh goal of the season also turned out to be his first career game winning goal.

“It felt good to help the boys out and it’s even better to get a win against a really great team like the Timmins Rock,” continued Rogers.

Rylan Clemons, Cooper Smyl, Will Josephson and Tyler Savard had an assist each for the Thunderbirds while Evan Beaudry and Phil Caron both got on the scoresheet for the Rock, with one helper each.

Rock rookie goaltender Vance Meyer gave up 2 goals on 17 shots in the loss.

The Thunderbirds will now get set to take on the Espanola Express, who will be in town on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

It will also be the third time in four games that the Soo will face the Express.

“Now we’re just going to go out and have a good practice on Monday and Tuesday and try to go out and get the win on Wednesday,” concluded Rogers.

(Photo by Bob Davies)

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