Thunderbirds give up 5 goals in the second period and drop game 1 of the NOJHL final

By Matt Stefano

The winning streak may be over, but the series is just getting started.

On Sunday night, the Soo Thunderbirds had their 26-game winning streak snapped as they fell by a score of 6-4 to the Hearst Lumberjacks in game 1 of the NOJHL final in front of 862 fans at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

The Thunderbirds, who had their 26-game winning streak snapped on Sunday night, also lost for the first time in the 2022 postseason.

“In the second period we were very sloppy,” said Soo Thunderbirds alternate captain Michael Chaffay, whose team surrendered five goals in the second period. “We then picked things up in the third period and I think that’s going to carry on over into our next game.”

At the 7:48 mark of the first period, Chaffay scored his 10th goal of the postseason, which put the Soo up 1-0 after twenty minutes of play.

Chaffay, who opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds on Monday night, also extended his goal-scoring streak to four games.

“I just want to help out my team anyway I can,” Chaffay said. “It’s important to score goals and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing.”

After leading the Lumberjacks 1-0 after twenty minutes of play, the Lumberjacks then ended up scoring five times in the second period, which tied their team record for most goals scored in a single period.

“At the start of the game we were just shaking off the bus legs and trying to get a feel for the game,” said Hearst Lumberjacks forward Ryan Glazer, whose team entered Sunday night’s game with a record of 8 wins and 5 losses in the postseason. “So far we’ve played a lot of games in the playoffs and tonight we were just trying to put the puck in and move our legs around.”

After recording three assists in the Lumberjacks 4-3 victory over the Timmins Rock in game 7 of the NOJHL East Division final back on Friday night in Timmins, Lumberjacks forward Ryan Glazer then ended up scoring three times for the Lumberjacks on Sunday night in game 1 of the NOJHL final, giving him his second straight three-point game.

With the Lumberjacks down two men early in the second period, Glazer ended up scoring a shorthanded tally just 2:28 in, unassisted, which tied the game up at one.

Glazer would then get his second goal of the night and 9th tally of the postseason at the 14:45 mark of the second, which at that time gave the Lumberjacks at 4-2 lead.

The native of Saint-Lazare, Quebec would then get his third goal of the game and 10th goal of the postseason into an empty net with just 37 seconds to go in the third period, making the score 6-4 for the Lumberjacks.

Glazer, who finished the night with three goals, also gave himself his first career playoff hat trick.

“Obviously it’s a good feeling, but ultimately the goal was to help the team win this game,” Glazer said. “It’s feels good to help out and that’s what I’m going to keep trying to do.”

On Sunday night, the Lumberjacks also saw multi-point efforts from two other players, including forwards Zachary Demers and Brayden Palfi.

Demers and Palfi both finished the night with two assists each.

Sunday night’s game also saw a night of firsts from two Lumberjack players as captain Dylan Ford and forward Maxander Pelletier each recorded their first career playoff tallies.

Ford’s first career playoff goal came at the 10:53 mark of the second period on the power play, which at that time gave the Lumberjacks a 3-2 lead.

Pelletier would then get his first career playoff tally at the 14:54 mark of the second, which at that time made the score 5-2 for the Lumberjacks.

Lumberjacks forward Riley Klugerman also had a goal (power play) for his club on Sunday night while Owen Porter, Tyler Patterson, Jaden Raad and Andrew Potyk all chipped in with one assist each.

On Sunday night, Thunderbirds rookie forward and Ottawa 67’s prospect Cooper Foster finished the night with a power play goal and an assist while Colby Arbour (power play) and Russell Oldham each found the back of the net once.

Foster, who finished the night with a power play goal and an assist, also extended his point-scoring streak to five games.

Mason Chitaroni, Dharan Cap, Kaden Dundas, Kelsey Ouellet and Andrew Gibson also all got on the scoresheet for the Thunderbirds with one assist each.

Lumberjacks goaltender Liam Oxner made 31 saves for the victory.

Thunderbirds netminder Noah Zeppa, who got the start in net on Sunday night, gave up 5 goals on 20 shots, before being replaced in net by Noah Metivier, who then made 9 saves the rest of the way.

The Thunderbirds, who dropped the first game of the NOJHL final on Sunday night, will now be right back in action for game 2 of the series on Tuesday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

“Heading into game 2 we are just going to take what we did in the third period in game 1 and build off that,” Chaffay said,”


In day two of the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, which took place on Saturday, April 30, Soo Thunderbirds affiliate player Charlie Burns ended up be drafted in the 9th round (167th overall) by the Niagara IceDogs.

Burns, who is a 2006-birth-year goaltender, spent the 2021-2022 season with the Great North Under-18 Hockey League’s Soo Jr. Greyhounds, where he had a 1.52 goals against average and 2 shutouts through 17 games played.

(Photo credit to Bob Davies)

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