By Matt Stefano
After handing the Greater Sudbury Cubs their first shutout loss in team history back on Sunday night in Sudbury, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on John Rhodes ice on Friday night for their second straight meeting against the very same Cubs team.
Despite recording 45 shots on net, including 20 in the third period, the Thunderbirds fell to the Cubs by a score of 4-3 in overtime.
“I thought we did some really good things in the third period, but for the first forty minutes we weren’t at our best,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “There was too much individual play through the first two periods, but we got back to our team game in the third and we were then able to muster a few chances. It was a weird game. It was back and forth and I thought we had a lot of chances to score, but when you don’t play the right way for sixty minutes, you’re not going to get rewarded and that’s what happened tonight.”
Friday night’s game also saw some great saves at both ends of the ice from Thunderbirds netminder Noah Metiver and Cubs goaltender Sasha Gaumond.
“Tives (Metiver) played great and we expect that out of him. Fair or not, he brings it every night and you’re always going to get his best and I just love the way he battles back there. But their (Greater Sudbury) goaltender played fantastic as well and he was big in the net. Anytime you’re shooting and you don’t see a lot of mesh it’s tough to get one by, but for the most part I thought we did a good job getting bodies to the net and making it hard for their goalie,” Jarrett said.
The Thunderbirds, who entered Friday night’s game with the best penalty kill in the NOJHL, went 1 for 2 on their penalty kill, but ended up finishing a perfect 2 for 2 on the power play.
“Our special teams were good tonight, but there’s still some things we want to clean up on the PK,” Jarrett said. “With Tives playing the way he played tonight, he showed your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender and he was tonight. In terms of our power play, the guys have been doing a good job of executing and it’s something we can build on and keep getting better at.”
Cubs forward Kyler Campbell led the way offensively on Friday night two goals, including the overtime winner along with adding an assist.
Campbell, who recorded three points on Friday night, also gave himself 23 points on the season, which moved him into first in league scoring.
Billy Biedermann had a power play goal and an assist for the Cubs on Friday night while Pineshish Whiteduck also had a multi-point game of his own with two assists.
Matthieu Morin had a goal for the Cubs while Christopher Innes also got on the scoresheet with one assist.
Samuel Lake (power play), Michael Chaffay (power play) and Kenny Belanger Jr. had the goals for the Thunderbirds while Christian Howanitz, Cooper Foster, Kaden Dundas, Kelsey Ouellet, Tyson Doucette and Creo Solomon all chipped in with one assist each.
Thunderbirds netminder Noah Metiver made 34 saves in the loss while Cubs rookie goaltender Sasha Gaumond stopped 42 shots for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Saturday night in Elliot Lake for a road game against the Elliot Lake Red Wings.
Puck drop for that game is set for 7:00 p.m. at Centennial Arena.
“We need to play a full sixty minutes,” Jarrett said. “We can’t expect to show up in Elliot Lake and play twenty minutes and get a win. When we play a sixty minute game, we’re a really hard team to beat.”
(Photo credit to Matt Stefano)