Thunderbirds scare Wildcats before Halloween

By Matt Stefano

It may have only been the night before Halloween, but the Soo Thunderbirds gave the Elliot Lake Wildcats quite a scare at the John Rhodes Community Centre on Wednesday night.

It was a game that saw lots of shots, lots of goals and different coloured jerseys.

The Thunderbirds scored seven times on sixty three shots in their “Pink In The Rink Game” on Wednesday night as they hammered the last place Wildcats by a score of 7-2.

“I thought it was good coming out hard after that 4-2 loss in Espanola back on Saturday night and it was nice to beat Elliot Lake by five tonight,” said Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith.

On Wednesday night, Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds with his fourth career hat trick along with adding an assist.

“I lost my point streak against Espanola the other day, so I was hungry tonight (Wednesday),” continued Smith.

Smith, who scored three goals on Wednesday night, scored all three of his goals in the first period.

It was also the second time in his career that he scored three goals in a first period.

The last time Smith scored three goals in a first period, was back on October 18, 2017 in a 12-1 victory over the Espanola Express.

“It always feels good when the pucks are going in the net and hopefully it keeps coming,” continued the Thunderbirds co-captain.

Wednesday night’s game also saw a couple Thunderbirds hit milestones.

Newly signed forward Adam Ostapiak, who entered Wednesday night’s game with 0 points in his first four games with the Thunderbirds, recorded two assists for his first two NOJHL points.

Forward Coltan Hayes, who entered Wednesday night’s game with 5 assists in 9 games, notched his first career NOJHL goal at the 16:53 mark of the third period, which made the score 7-2 Thunderbirds at that point.

“They always work hard and it’s great to see them get rewarded and hopefully they can keep it up,” concluded Smith.

Will Josephson and Kurtis Rogers had a goal and an assist each for the Thunderbirds on Wednesday night while MacKenzie Walkington and Tyler Dunbar recorded two assists each.

Rookie forward Jake Kovacs had one goal for the Thunderbirds while Cam Findlay, Brock Santa Maria, Tyler Savard and Nolan Ford all had one assist each.

Eric Vanderhoff and Hayden Daca had the goals for Elliot Lake while Jadyn Parnell, Tyler McCullough, Connor Taylor and Owen Kruse all had one helper each.

The Thunderbirds went one for four on the man advantage while going six for seven on the penalty kill.

Wildcats netminder Parker Simpson gave up 7 goals on 63 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds goaltender Colin Ahern made 27 saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds will now be in Elliot Lake for a rematch against the last place Wildcats on Friday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Arena.


Prior to the game on Wednesday night, the Thunderbirds honoured national anthem singer and long time volunteer Annette Bouchard, who has been cancer free since 2011.

Bouchard was recognized in a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game as part of the Thunderbirds “Pink In The Rink Game”.

(Photo by Bob Davies)

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