By Matt Stefano
The Birds keep on rocking!
On Saturday night, the Soo Thunderbirds extended their winning streak to 13 straight games as they defeated the Timmins Rock by a score of 4-3 in overtime at McIntyre Arena in Timmins.
The Thunderbirds, who picked up their 13th straight win on Saturday night, also gave themselves their league-leading 33rd victory of the season.
“I’m really proud of the boys effort but it wasn’t an easy night, because Timmins was hard to handle,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “They (Timmins) really took it to us early, but credit to our guys, because they fought hard and ultimately found a way to get the two points.”
On Saturday night, it would be Thunderbirds forward Dharan Cap getting the overtime goal with just 57 seconds to go in overtime, giving the Soo a 4-3 win.
Cap’s goal in overtime also turned out to be his first career overtime tally.
“It felt unreal to get the OT winner, but it felt even better to extend our winning streak,” Cap said. “It was a hard fought game and all the boys found a way to pull through while down some bodies.”
On Saturday night, Thunderbirds rookie forward Cooper Foster led the way offensively with a pair of goals and an assist, good for his 17th career multi-point game.
Foster, who entered Saturday night’s game with 15 goals, notched his first goal of the game and 16th goal of the season on the power play at the 3:39 mark of the third period, which at that time tied the game up at two.
The Ottawa 67’s prospect would then get his second goal of the game and 17th goal of the season just 2:51 later, which put the Thunderbirds up by a score of 3-2.
“Foster was the difference maker tonight,” Jarrett said. “He led the way all weekend with his effort and he’s taking his game to another level, which is fun to watch.”
Saturday night’s game was also memorable night for Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Kolby Fellinger, who notched his first NOJHL goal with just over five minutes left to go in the opening period.
Fellinger, who entered Saturday night’s game with 0 goals in 40 games, scored his first NOJHL goal at the 14:54 mark of the first period, which at that time cut the Rock’s lead to 2-1 heading into the second period.
“It felt amazing,” Fellinger said. “I saw their winger cheat over my D-partner and I came into the slot and got a beautiful pass and I shot it five hole.”
The Thunderbirds, who trailed the Rock 2-1 after twenty minutes of play, also got outshot by the Rock 15-7 in the opening period.
The Rock then outshot the Thunderbirds 8-3 in the second period, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
“The boys started off a bit slow tonight, but we weathered the storm and came out hard in the second and third,” Fellinger said.
Thunderbirds rookie forward Kelsey Ouellet set up a pair of goals on Saturday night for his 13th career multi-point game while Mason Chitaroni, Youssef Chaouachi, Andrew Gibson and Colby Arbour all got on the scoresheet with one assist.
Assistant captain Nicholas Pigeon led the way offensively for the Rock with a power play goal and an assist while Rock defenceman Cameron Dutkiewicz also had a multi-point game of his own, with a pair of helpers.
Pigeon’s power play goal came at the 14:21 mark of the second period, which at that time tied the game up at three.
Tyler Schwindt and Tyler Gilberds (power play) had the other goals for the Rock while Harry Clark and Riley Brousseau set up a goal each.
The goals by Schwindt and Gilberds came just 4:56 apart in the first period, which built an early 2-0 lead for Timmins.
Timmins goaltender Gavin McCarthy gave up 4 goals on 20 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Noah Zeppa made 27 saves for his 8th straight victory.
Zeppa, who picked up his 8th straight victory on Saturday night, also gave himself his 13th win in just his 16th game played this season.
The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Friday, March 18, when they take on the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
Puck drop for that game is set for 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday night, the Thunderbirds defeated the Timmins Rock by a score of 4-3 in overtime and have now swept the regular season series against the Rock, two games to none.
In their first meeting of the season back on February 19, the Thunderbirds defeated the Rock by a score of 3-2 in overtime at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
During this regular season series against the Rock, Thunderbirds forward Colby Arbour has been a big reason why the Thunderbirds have been getting these overtime wins.
Arbour scored the overtime goal in the Thunderbirds 3-2 overtime victory against the Rock back on February 19 at the John Rhodes, which turned out to be his first career game-winning goal.
The 20-year-old forward then had an assist on Dharan Cap’s overtime goal tonight (March 12), which helped the Soo to a 4-3 overtime victory.
(Photo of Thunderbirds forward Michael Chaffay credit to Bob Davies)