By Matt Stefano
Hope you remembered to turn your clocks back one hour. Because it’s game day!
Matinee action takes place today at the John Rhodes Community Centre as your Soo Thunderbirds will take on their cross-border rivals, the Soo Eagles, beginning at 2:00 p.m.
The Thunderbirds are entering this afternoon’s game with a record of 12 wins, 2 losses, 1 overtime loss and 1 shootout loss, good for 24 points and are currently in first place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are currently sitting in third place in the NOJHL’s West Division with a record of 8 wins, 3 losses and 1 overtime loss, good for 17 points.
This will also be the second time this season the Thunderbirds and the Eagles will meet on a Sunday afternoon.
HEAD TO HEAD
In two meetings against the Eagles this season, the Thunderbirds have defeated them once in overtime and have lost to them once in regulation time.
The Eagles have also outscored the Thunderbirds 6-4 overall.
During this series, Thunderbirds assistant captain Michael Chaffay has led the way offensively with a goal and two assists.
SAVED BY THE BELTRANO
After going pointless in his first 14 NOJHL games played, rookie defenceman Michael Beltrano ended up being a big help in last night’s 5-4 overtime victory in Blind River.
Beltrano finished last night’s game with a goal and an assist, and now enters this afternoon’s game with 2 points in 15 games.
The 17-year-old blueliner is also currently playing forward right now due to a few forwards being out because of injuries.
The last time the Soo Thunderbirds and Soo Eagles met, was back on Sunday, October 17 in Sault, Ontario, when the Eagles defeated the the Thunderbirds by a score of 3-0 at the John Rhodes.
That afternoon, Eagles goaltender Ryan Gilmore made 39 saves for his first shutout of the season, and was also named first star of the game.
Gilmore, who is from Dewitt, Michigan, is entering this afternoon’s game with a record of 4 wins and 1 loss, and is also currently riding a four-game winning streak.
LUCKY SEVEN FOR TIVES
Sticking between the pipes, Thunderbirds rookie netminder Noah “Tives” Metivier picked up his 7th win of the season in last night’s 5-4 overtime victory in Blind River.
During last night’s game, Tives turned aside 26 shots, including a penalty shot on Beavers forward Alexander Tingay at the 9:16 mark of the second period.
Tives, who picked up his 7th win between the pipes last night, has now moved into a tie with Patrick Boivin (Espanola Express) for first among NOJHL rookie netminders in wins.
BIRDS ON THE PK
After going a perfect 2 for 2 on their penalty kill in last night’s 5-4 overtime victory in Blind River, the Thunderbirds penalty kill continues to be the most dangerous in this league.
The Thunderbirds are entering this afternoon’s game with the best penalty kill in the entire NOJHL, operating at 88.7%.
NO LAPRADE BEHIND THE BENCH
Looking behind the bench now, the Soo Eagles will be without their head coach Doug LaPrade for this afternoon’s game against the Soo Thunderbirds.
LaPrade will be serving game one of his two-game suspension that he received following the Eagles 4-3 victory over the Elliot Lake Red Wings back on October 29 in Elliot Lake.
On October 29, LaPrade was ejected from the game at the 9:23 mark of the third period.
(Photo credit to Matt Stefano)