Thunderbirds return to the Rhodes tonight to take on the Rock

By Matt Stefano

After defeating the Blind River Beavers by a score of 4-1 back on Tuesday night in Blind River and handing the Beavers their first home loss of the season, the Soo Thunderbirds are now returning to John Rhodes ice tonight at 7:00 p.m. as they will take on the Timmins Rock in their second meeting of the season.

The T-Birds, who will be back on John Rhodes ice tonight for the first time since September 16, are entering tonight’s game with a record of 5 wins, 6 losses and 1 shootout loss, good for 11 points and last place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings.

The Rock, meanwhile, are entering tonight’s game with a record of 7 wins, 3 losses, 1 overtime loss and 1 shootout loss, good for 16 points and are currently tied with the Hearst Lumberjacks for first place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings.

The Rock have also given up the least goals against the NOJHL’s East Division, only allowing 27 goals against.


In their only meeting of the season back on Tuesday, October 4, the Soo Thunderbirds defeated the Timmins Rock by a score of 3-2 in overtime at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Day 1 of the NOJHL Showcase in Greater Sudbury.

During that game, forwards Youssef Chaouachi (1g 1a) and Dharan Cap (0g 2a) led the way offensively for the T-Birds with two points each while rookie goaltender Landon Miller made 37 saves in his NOJHL debut.

Rookie defenceman Brodie McConnell-Barker, who also made his debut for the T-Birds during that game, ended up being the overtime hero just 34 seconds into overtime.


Since signing with the Soo Thunderbirds at the beginning of this month, rookie defenceman Brodie McConnell-Barker has recorded a point in all four of his games played this season.

McConnell-Barker, who is entering tonight’s game on a four-game point-scoring streak, is the first Soo Thunderbird defenceman to start a season on a four-game point-scoring streak since Drew Otto (2008-2009).


When the Soo Thunderbirds and the Timmins Rock hit the ice tonight for this 7:00 p.m. game, tonight’s game will mark the return of former Soo Thunderbirds defenceman Kyle Trottier, who was traded from the Thunderbirds to the Rock back on September 19.

Trottier, who will make his first visit to the Soo tonight since the trade, currently has 1 goal and 1 assist in 7 games played this season with the Rock.

Before getting traded to the Rock, Trottier had 0 points in just 2 games played this season with the Soo Thunderbirds.

As a member of the Soo Thunderbirds last season, Trottier had 3 goals and 15 assists in 43 regular season games and helped the Thunderbirds win their 5th Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy in franchise history.


Looking between the pipes now, Timmins Rock goaltender Patrick Boivin is entering tonight’s game on a two-game shutout streak, thanks to shutout wins over Cochrane on back October 7 and Kirkland Lake back on October 11.

On Friday, October 7, Boivin made 18 saves for his first shutout of the season in a 7-0 victory over the Cochrane Crunch at McIntyre Arena in Timmins.

That night, (Friday, October 7) Boivin was also named second star of the game.

Then, on Tuesday, October 11, Boivin then recorded his second straight shutout, making another 18 saves in a 3-0 victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners at McIntyre Arena in Timmins.

That night, (Tuesday, October 11) Boivin also earned first star of the game.

Boivin is the fourth goaltender in Rock history to record back-to-back shutouts, joining Tyler Masternak (2018-2019), Vance Meyer (2019-2020) and Konrad Simard (2021-2022).


In transaction news now, the Timmins Rock made one trade yesterday as they acquired 2004-birth-year forward Nicholas Moore from the Blind River Beavers in exchange for a player development fee.

In 9 games played with the Beavers this season, Moore had 3 goals, 2 assists and 8 penalty minutes.

Moore, who is the newest member of the Rock, stands 6-feet inches tall and weighs 175 pounds.

(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds forward Brock Santa Maria credit to Bob Davies)

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