By Matt Stefano
After concluding the 3rd Annual NOJHL Showcase in Sudbury with a win and a loss, the Soo Thunderbirds were back on John Rhodes ice on Saturday night for their third meeting of the season against the Rayside Balfour Canadians.
In two meetings against the Canadians this season, the Thunderbirds have beaten them both times by 3-2 scores, including once in overtime.
Heading into Saturday night’s game, the Thunderbirds had a perfect record on home ice with 7 wins and 0 losses.
The Thunderbirds suffered their first loss on home ice this season on Saturday night as they fell by a score of 3-2 to the Canadians.
“It was definitely a battle,” said Thunderbirds captain Kaidan McDonald, who had one goal on Saturday night. “We had a good first period, but came out a little slow in the second. We picked it up towards the end of the third, but they had a lucky goal at the end.”
Brady Maltais’ fifth goal of the season, broke a 2-2 tie with just 13 seconds to go in the third period, putting the Canadians up 3-2.
“It was pretty lucky,” continued McDonald. “Right off the draw, they shot it towards Colin and nobody was expecting it. It sneaked back door on a wide open net.”
Thunderbirds goaltender Colin Ahern made 36 saves in the loss.
“I thought Colin was awesome,” continued McDonald. “He definitely played really well and he made a lot of huge saves out there.”
Forwards Jett Leishman (2g 1a) and Brady Maltais (1g 2a) had three points each for the Canadians on Saturday night while Zachary Snow and Noah Serre had one assist each.
Tyler Malpass had a goal for the Soo while Lucas Theriault, Noah Boman, Steven Bellini and Nolan Ford all chipped in with one assist each.
Canadians goaltender David Bowen made 33 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now conclude their two game home stand on Sunday afternoon, when they take on the defending NOJHL champions, the Cochrane Crunch, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
The Soo defeated the Crunch 4-3 in a shootout back on Wednesday night in Sudbury during the 3rd Annual NOJHL Showcase.
“We just all need to show up,” concluded McDonald. “It’s going to be a good game for sure. It’s definitely going to be a battle, so we have to be ready for that.”
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)