By Matt Stefano
The winning streak continues!
On Wednesday night, the Soo Thunderbirds extended their winning streak to four games as they defeated the Blind River Beavers by a score of 2-1 in a shootout at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Thunderbirds, who picked up a 2-1 shootout victory over the Beavers on Wednesday night, were also coming off a 4-3 overtime victory against the Hearst Lumberjacks back on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought we carried a lot of the play tonight and the shots on net will tell you that,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett, whose team outshot the Beavers 45-32 overall. “Tonight we got a lot of pucks to the net, but I think we can get a little bit more creative and have a little more movement and hopefully get more goals so we don’t get to the point where it goes into overtime or a shootout. It’s nice to get another win, no question, but we still have lots of work to do in all three zones.”
During Wednesday night’s game, Thunderbirds goaltender and Soo Greyhounds 2022 2nd round pick Landon Miller made 31 saves, including 5 in overtime, good for his third straight victory.
Miller, who made 31 saves on Wednesday night, also only had to face 3 shots in the second period, due to the fact that the Thunderbirds had four power plays in that middle frame.
“Miller didn’t have a whole lot of action in the second period because we had four power plays in that period, but to his credit, he stayed in it (the game), he kept his mind in the game and when he was called upon, he made some really big saves that he had to make,” Jarrett said. “He was also lights out during the shootout which was great to see.”
Miller, who has now improved his record to 4 wins, 0 losses and 1 shootout loss, now also has the highest save percentage (.946) and the lowest goals against (1.73) among all NOJHL goaltenders.
“The boys really fought hard, especially in the second period and it was exciting to get the win,” said Miller, whose team outshot the Beavers 17-3 in the middle frame.
Wednesday night’s game also saw a strong performance from Beavers rookie netminder Charlie Burns, as he made 43 saves in the loss.
Burns, who is also from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, also played in net on Wednesday night against his hometown team (Soo Thunderbirds) for the first time in his junior career.
“I thought it was a good game overall,” Burns said. “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted obviously, but I thought it was a good game for us as a team and we’re just going to build on that heading into Saturday when we play the Soo Eagles. It was also definitely special getting the start in net against my hometown team tonight, because I had a lot of family and friends that were here watching.”
The Beavers opened the scoring just 31 seconds into the first period as defenceman Nicholas Brady notched his 2nd goal of the season from Matthew Green and Joshua Thompson, making the score 1-0 for the Beavers.
With the Thunderbirds trailing the Beavers 1-0 early in the second, it would then be Thunderbirds third-year forward Ethan Novello getting his 3rd goal of the season from Samuel Lake at 2:56, which tied the game at one.
After a scoreless third period and overtime period, the teams were then headed to a shootout, which lasted up to five rounds.
Youssef Chaouchi scored the shootout winner for the Thunderbirds in the fifth round of the shootout while Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Brodie McConnell-Barker had the other goal in the shootout, which came in the third round.
Evan Fraccaro had the lone goal for the Beavers in the first round of the shootout.
Next action for the T-Birds will be on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., when they will take on the Soo Eagles at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
On Wednesday night, the Soo Thunderbirds picked up a 2-1 shootout victory over the Blind River Beavers at the John Rhodes.
DID YOU KNOW?
The last time the Soo Thunderbirds won a game in a shootout, was back on February 26, 2021, when they defeated the Blind River Beavers 6-5 in a shootout at the John Rhodes.
That was 600 days ago.
(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds forward Youssef Chaouachi getting the shootout winner on Wednesday night credit to Bob Davies)