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Thunderbirds fall to Eagles in a shootout

By Matt Stefano

The Soo Thunderbirds were on John Rhodes ice on a rainy Sunday evening for the second game of a home and home series against their cross-border rivals, the Soo Eagles.

After defeating the Eagles 3-2 on Saturday night in Soo Michigan, the Thunderbirds ended up picking up one point on Sunday night at the Rhodes as they fell by a score of 3-2 in a shootout.

The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes of play, thanks to goals by Nick Smith (shorthanded) and Jake Kovacs.

A goal by Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Caleb Wood at the 3:05 mark of the second period, cut the Thunderbirds lead to 2-1 after two.

With Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato gone to the bench for an extra man late in the third period, it would be Dallas, Texas native Raf Praysner tying the game up for the Eagles with 1:46 left to go in regulation, sending the game into overtime.

With overtime solving nothing, the teams would then go to a shootout.

Tommy Buis, who was the second shooter for the Eagles, notched the only goal in the shootout, which proved to be the game winner.

Caleb Wood and Dominic Skrelja were the other shooters for the Eagles, but failed to find the back of the net.

Brock Santa Maria, Nick Smith and Matthew Bazarin were the three shooters for the Thunderbirds in the shootout, but all three did not score.

Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Warner Young led the way offensively with a pair of assists, good for his first career multi point game.

Tristan Cicchello and Will Josephson had the other assists for the Thunderbirds.

Hayden Clark, Blake Vaca, Tommy Buis and Dominic Skrelja had an assists for the Eagles.

Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato made 34 saves for the victory while Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern made 32 saves in the loss.

Next action for the Thunderbirds will be this Friday, September 27th, when they visit Hearst to take on the defending NOJHL champion Lumberjacks.

Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Claude Larose Arena.

(Photo credit to Bob Davies)

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