Thunderbirds edge Beavers 4-3

By Matt Stefano

After opening up a two-game homestand with a 5-4 victory over the Espanola Express back on Tuesday night, and extending their winning streak to six games, the Soo Thunderbirds concluded their two-game homestand on Friday night as they took on the Blind River Beavers at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

Heading into Friday night’s game, the Thunderbirds also had a 3-0 record against the Beavers this season while outscoring them 15-11 overall.

The Thunderbirds won their fourth meeting against the Beavers on Friday night at the John Rhodes, as they defeated them by a score 4-3.

“I thought we had a much better start than the last few times we played these guys,” said Thunderbirds assistant captain Nick Smith. “We just played our systems and kept throwing pucks at the net and the goals came.”

Third year forward Nick Smith scored his twenty fourth goal of the season at the 3:11 mark of the third period, which gave the Thunderbirds a 3-2 lead at that point.

Smith’s twenty fourth goal of the season, also gave him his seventieth career goal, making him just the seventh Soo Thunderbird to hit seventy career goals, joining David Borrelli (1999-2002), Jeff Rainville (2001-2003), Nick Minardi (2004-2009), Jerry Petingalo (2006-2011), Anthony Miller (2012-2015) and Matt Caruso (2014-2017).

“It’s pretty cool,” continued Smith. That’s a great stat to know and I’m proud of myself for it.”

Thunderbirds captain Kaidan McDonald had a goal (game winner) and an assist for the Thunderbirds on Friday night, which extended his point scoring streak to five games.

McDonald, who entered Friday night’s game with five game winning goals on the season, scored his league leading sixth game winning goal at the 16:55 mark of the third period.

“It was nice playing with him tonight,” concluded Smith. “This was the first time in a while that we played together. We meshed pretty good and it’s nice to see him scoring .”

Thunderbirds forward Noah Boman also had a two-point night for the Thunderbirds on Friday night, setting up two goals.

Boman’s two assists on Friday night, gave him fifty eight points on the season, moving him one point ahead of Lucas Theriault for first in team scoring.

Matthew Bazarin and Nate Medaglia had the other goals for the Thunderbirds while Cam Findlay, Steven Bellini and Max Techel all chipped in with one assist each.

Brendan Young led the way offensively for the Beavers with a goal and an assist while Justin Mauro and Sam Harris had a goal each.

Riley Nielsen, Alex Engel, Caleb Serre and Riley Nadeau all had one assist each for the Beavers.

Beavers goaltender Jackson Hjelle gave up four goals on forty three shots in the loss while Thunderbirrds rookie netminder Colin Ahern made seventeen saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds will now play their final game of the month of January on Sunday, January 27th, when they visit Elliot Lake to take on the Wildcats.

Puck drop is 7:00 p.m. at Centennial Arena.

(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/

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