Thunderbirds pick up overtime win in Blind River

By Matt Stefano

After defeating the Elliot Lake Red Wings by a score of 4-1 on back Friday night in the Soo, the Soo Thunderbirds were right back in action less than twenty four hours later as they were in Blind River on Saturday night to take on the Blind River Beavers.

The Thunderbirds, who were also entering Saturday night’s game on a two-game winning streak, were also looking to extend their winning streak to three games for the third time this season.

Despite only having 14 skaters in their lineup, the Thunderbirds picked up their third straight victory as they defeated the Beavers by a score of 5-4 in overtime at the Blind River Community Centre.

“Tonight we had a great effort out of everyone,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “To say we were shorthanded would’ve been an understatement, but the boys found a way to get two points.”

For the second time this season, the Thunderbirds also got an overtime goal from one of their blueliners.

Rookie defenceman Andrew Gibson scored his first career overtime goal on the power play with just 3 seconds to go in overtime, giving the Thunderbirds their third straight win.

The Soo Greyhounds prospect also became the second Thunderbird defenceman to score an overtime goal this season, joining Kaden Dundas, who scored one against the Soo Eagles back on October 8 in Sault, Ontario.

“It was a really great feeling and I have to thank all the boys for putting us in that opportunity. They moved the puck well during regulation and in overtime,” Gibson said.

Gibson, who had the overtime goal for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night, finished Saturday night’s game with a goal and an assist.

“Gibby was a beast for us tonight,” Jarrett said. “He ate up a lot of minutes and was solid all over the ice.”

On Saturday night, the Thunderbirds also saw rookie defenceman Michael Beltrano finally get the monkey off his back.

Beltrano, who entered Saturday night’s game with 0 points in his first 14 games played, notched his first career goal along with setting up another, giving him his first two points of his NOJHL career.

“It obviously feels great,” said Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Michael Beltrano. “I’ve never really been a big points guy, so it always feels good to get a few, especially my first two (points).”

With only a total of seven forwards dressed for Saturday night’s game, Beltrano also filled in as a forward once again.

“Michael is a defenceman who’s playing forward right now and he’s been outstanding since moving up front,” Jarrett said. “Michael’s attitude and commitment to being a good teammate has been amazing and we’re all happy that he finally got rewarded tonight.”

Rookie forward Samuel Lake also had a two-point night for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night as he set up two goals.

Lake’s two-assist performance also gave him his second multi-point game of the season.

Michael Chaffay, Kenny Belanger Jr. and Creo Solomon all had a goal each for the Thunderbirds on Saturday night while Youssef Chaouachi, Cooper Foster, Kesley Ouellet and Cole Delarosbil all recorded one assist each.

Beavers forward Jesse Dupuis had two goals on Saturday night, giving him his first career multi-point game while defenceman Nolan Connolly also had a multi-point game of his own, with a goal and an assist.

Joel Martin also had a two-point night for the Beavers with two assists.

Hayden Webster had a goal for the Beavers on Saturday night while Samuel Davies and Caleb Minns also got on the scoresheet with one assist each.

Beavers netminder Gavin Disano gave up 5 goals on 61 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds rookie goaltender Noah Metiver made 26 saves for the victory.

Metiver, who made 26 saves on Saturday night, also stopped a penalty shot on Beavers forward Alexander Tingay at the 9:16 mark of the second period.

The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., when they face off against the Soo Eagles for a matinee game at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault, Ontario.

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