By Matt Stefano
After dropping back to back games in a home and home series against the Blind River Beavers last Friday and Saturday, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to snap a two-game losing streak on Wednesday night as they took on the Rayside Balfour Canadians at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
It was also the first time these two clubs met since the Thunderbirds eliminated them in the 2019 NOJHL West Division Final series back on April 8th.
Wedesnday night’s matchup saw some strong goaltending at both ends of the ice, but the Thunderbirds ended up losing their third straight as they fell by a score of 3-1 to the Canadians.
After a scoreless opening period, the Thunderbirds got on the board first at the 1:43 mark of the second, courtesy of Avery Rebek’s second goal of the season from Tyler Dunbar.
The Canadians would then respond at the 8:33 mark of the second, as forward Matthew Belanger would notch his first goal of the season from Mitchell Martin, which tied the game at one after forty minutes of action.
A power play goal by Oliver Smith from Benjamin Hatanaka and Brady Maltais at the 12:35 mark of the third, would give the Canadians their first lead of the game, before an empty net goal by Nicholas DeGrazaia would seal the deal with just twenty nine seconds to go in regulation time.
Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern was named the Subway second star of the game, making 30 saves, including one on the penalty shot against Canadians forward Jett Leishman at the 4:01 mark of the third, which kept the game tied 1-1 at that point.
Canadians goaltender David Bowen was named the Subway first start of the game, making 36 saves for the victory.
The 2-3 Thunderbirds will see action again on Saturday night, when they visit Soo Michigan to take on the Soo Eagles.
Puck drop will be 7:00 p.m. at the Pullar Stadium.
(Photo credit to Bob Davies)