Thunderbirds give Crunch their first season opening loss

By Matt Stefano

After dropping their first season opener in six years on Friday night, losing 2-0 to the Hearst Lumberjacks at the Claude Larose Arena, the Soo Thunderbirds were hoping to rebound with a win on Saturday night as they were in Cochrane to take on the Crunch.

Brendan Miller, who scored twice during the preseason, scored the Thunderbirds first goal of their 2017-2018 season on the power play at the 12:57 mark of the first period, giving the Soo a 1-0 lead.

Nicolas Case and Camaryn Baber would get the assists on what would be Miller’s first tally of the regular season.

The Crunch would get a power play goal of their own at the 4:29 mark of the first period, as Austin Stauffer would notch his first goal of the season from Darian Harris to tie the game up at one.

Defenceman Kelly Quevillon, who played four games with the Thunderbirds during the 2016-2017 season, would get his first NOJHL tally from Alex Acosta at 12:34, which put the Soo up 2-1.

Etobicoke, Ontario native Alex Acosta would then get his first goal of the season and second point of the night at 16:10, which gave the Soo a comfortable 3-1 lead heading into the third.

Crunch forward Kyle Podwika would notch his first goal of the season with just 57 seconds to go in the third from Connor Lovie and Austin Whelan, cutting the Thunderbirds lead to one.

Time would run out though, as the Soo would go on to a 3-2 victory over the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

The Thunderbirds also gave the Crunch their first season opening loss in franchise history.

Taylor Unruh gave up 3 goals on 25 shots in net for Cochrane’s loss while Thunderbirds rookie goaltender Eric Schuch made 42 saves for the club’s first victory of 2017-2018.

The Thunderbirds will now conclude their three-game road trip on Sunday afternoon against the Timmins Rock at McIntyre Arena.

Game time is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.

(Photo of Alex Acosta credit to Jim Egan)

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