Thunderbirds fall short in high-scoring affair against Paper Kings

By Matt Stefano

There were no signs of any football scouts at the John Rhodes Community Centre on Super Bowl Sunday.

But on Super Bowl Sunday, fans in the stands at the John Rhodes were treated to a high-scoring affair that took place on the ice.

After trailing the Espanola Paper Kings 7-3 late in the second period, the Soo Thunderbirds came back to score three straight goals, including two in the third period, but ended up falling short by a score of 7-6 to the Paper Kings on Sunday afternoon at the John Rhodes.

The Thunderbirds, who dropped a 7-6 decision to the Paper Kings on Sunday afternoon, led 3-1 late in the first period, before surrendering six straight goals, including five in the middle frame.

“I think after we took a 3-1 lead, we thought they (Espanola) were just going to quit and they didn’t, and we got away from our game,” said Soo Thunderbirds forward Daniel Beaupre, who finished the afternoon with a goal and an assist, giving him 30 points on the season. “After we took a 3-1 lead, we stopped managing pucks and they ended up capitalizing on their chances.”

“After the first period, we took our foot off the gas and we just thought we were going to win this game,” added Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward Jackson Truchan, who finished the afternoon with one goal. “In the second period, things didn’t bounce our way. We did come back hard in the third period, but we just couldn’t find that last goal to tie things up.”

The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead in the opening six minutes of the game, thanks to back-to-back shorthanded tallies from two different players.

With the Thunderbirds down a man early in the first period, it would be forward Alex Remenda getting a shorthanded tally at 5:06, which gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.

Remenda, who scored a shorthanded tally on Sunday afternoon, also scored a shorthanded tally back on Saturday night in the Thunderbirds 5-1 win over the Paper Kings in Espanola.

The Thunderbirds then got their second shorthanded goal of the game just 33 seconds later, courtesy of a shorthanded tally by defenceman Brodie McConnell-Barker, which gave the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead.

“It’s always good if you can score shorthanded,” said Beaupre, whose team scored a pair of shorthanded goals on Sunday afternoon while also going 5-for-7 on their penalty kill. “Our penalty kill worked really hard this afternoon and we’ve had good sticks and lanes, and we also got a couple breaks. But whenever you score two shorthanded goals in a game, you should end up winning the game.”

On Sunday afternoon, Paper Kings forward Devin Mauro led the way offensively with a power play goal and three helpers, and was also named second star of the game.

Mauro, who recorded four points on Sunday afternoon, was also back in the Paper Kings lineup for the first time in over three weeks.

“It was a nice relief to get Devin back in the lineup this afternoon,” said Espanola Paper Kings head coach Jason Rapcewicz. “Devin was out for a while with a shoulder injury. He’s a high-end guy and we want to make sure that he’s fully recovered and healthy to go.”

On Sunday afternoon, Paper Kings leading scorer Lucas Signoretti also had a big afternoon offensively, as he scored a pair of goals to extend his goal-scoring streak to six games.

Signoretti, who extended his goal-scoring streak to six games, also set the franchise record for the longest goal-scoring streak by an Espanola player.

The previous record for the longest goal-scoring streak by an Espanola player, was five games, which was shared by Aaron Roschinsky (2016-2017) and Brett McInall (2018-2019).

“It feels great to set a record,” said Paper Kings leading scorer Lucas Signoretti. “I’m happy to do it with this great group of guys and I’m also hoping to keep my success going.”

“I can’t speak highly enough about Siggy (Lucas Signoretti),” added Rapcewicz. “Siggy is a leader on and off the ice and he’s one of those guys that doesn’t say a lot, but he leads by example in his play. He also plays hard every night.”

Signoretti, who is currently leading the Paper Kings in scoring this season, spent last season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, where he notched 3 goals and 5 assists in 58 games played.

After being released by the Erie Otters following the 2022 preseason, Signoretti then ended up signing with the Paper Kings for 2022-2023.

“My season with the Paper Kings this year has been awesome,” Signoretti said. “Jason (Rapcewicz) is an amazing guy and a great coach. When I first came to Espanola, I felt super comfortable and I wanted to help the guys on our team and kinda lead them a bit.”

“For us to get a guy like Siggy this season has been huge for us” added Rapcewicz. “We struggled over the years to recruit high-end players to come and play for us in Espanola, but when you start treating players right and doing things the right way, high-end players will start to realize that Espanola is a great place to play.”

Signoretti scored his first goal of the game and 31st goal of the season at the 14:54 mark of the first period, which at that time cut the Thunderbirds lead to 3-2 heading into the second.

Signoretti then scored a shorthanded tally at the 14:46 mark of the second period, which proved to be the game-winner.

The Paper Kings leading scorer also recorded an assist for a three-point afternoon.

With the Thunderbirds trailing the Paper Kings 7-5 with just under eight and a half minutes to go in the third period, the Thunderbirds then got a goal from rookie forward Jackson Truchan, who notched his 22nd goal of the season at 12:32, which cut the Paper Kings lead to 7-6.

Truchan, who scored his 22nd goal of the season, also tied the franchise record for the most goals by an American-born rookie, joining Josh Leddy (2002-2003).

“It’s obviously and honour,” said Truchan, who is a native of Farmington Hills, Michigan. “I’m speechless about tying that record and I don’t really know what to say about it, but I’m just hoping I can keep adding to that total and of course bring another cup to this city on top of that.”

During Sunday afternoon’s game, the Paper Kings also got a multi-goal game from forward Jack Lynes, who finished the afternoon with a pair of goals, good for his first multi-goal game of the season.

Defenceman Spencer Horgan also had a big afternoon offensively for the Paper Kings with a goal and an assist while Alexander Christopoulos also scored once (power play) and set up another.

Benjamin Lacroix, Blake Peters-Davey and Jonathan Lush set up a pair of goals each for the Paper Kings while Aiden Pethick also got on the scoresheet with one assist.

Wyatt Marlow (power play) and Brock Santa Maria had a goal each for the Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon while Austin Fellinger and Dharan Cap set up a pair of goals each.

Tyler Boudreau, Youssef Chaouachi, Samuel Lake, Justin Mauro and Michael Chaffay also all got on the scoresheet for the Thunderbirds with one assist each.

Paper Kings goaltender Creedon Dyck, who got the start in net on Sunday afternoon, gave up 3 goals on 9 shots before being replaced in net by Jake Marois, who then gave up 3 goals on 31 shots the rest of the way.

Thunderbirds goaltender Kolton Bourret gave up 7 goals on 33 shots in the loss.

Next action for the Thunderbirds will be on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m., when they will visit Sudbury to take on the Greater Sudbury Cubs at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

(Photo credit to

WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin