By Matt Stefano
After dropping a 6-1 decision to the Flin Flon Bombers in their opening game of the Centennial Cup tournament on Thursday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to rebound with a win just twenty-four hours later on Friday night as they took on the MHL’s Summerside Western Capitals in day 2 of the Centennial Cup tournament at Affinity Place in Estevan, Saskatchewan.
The Thunderbirds, who finished the regular season sixth overall in Canada, took on a Western Capitals team that finished three spots ahead of them, at No. 3.
On Friday night, the Western Capitals scored three power play goals on five power play opportunities as they defeated the Thunderbirds by a score of 4-1.
The Thunderbirds, who had five power play opportunities of their own on Friday night, finished the night 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
With the game still scoreless just over twelve minutes into the first period, it would be the Western Capitals getting on the board first at 12:09, courtesy of Sid McNeill’s power play goal from Josh MacDonald and Ed McNeill, which put the Western Capitals up 1-0.
The Thunderbirds would then find themselves tied in a game for this first time in this tournament with
1:16 left to go in the first period, as Youssef Chaouachi would notch his first goal of the tournament, unassisted, which tied the game up at one.
The Western Capitals would then retake the lead just 29 seconds later as Marc Richard would get his first goal of the tournament from Josh MacDonald and Colby MacArthur, which put the Western Capitals ahead 2-1 after twenty minutes.
The Western Capitals, who led 2-1 after the first period, also outshot the Thunderbirds 17-3 in that opening frame.
With the Thunderbirds down a man to start the second period, it would then be Jacob Stewart getting his first goal of the tournament on the power play just 1:30 in from Trentyn Crane and Marc Richard, which made the score 3-1 for the Western Capitals.
The Western Capitals would then get another power play goal just 1:29 later, courtesy of Josh MacDonald’s first goal of the tournament on the power play from Thomas Lacombe and Colby MacArthur, which put the Western Capitals up by a score of 4-1.
MacDonald, who scored his first goal of the tournament on the power play, also gave himself his third point of the game.
Western Capitals netminder Felix-Anthony Ethier made 13 saves for the victory while Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Zeppa made 40 saves in the loss.
Zeppa, who made 40 saves in his Centennial Cup debut on Friday night, was also named player of the game for the Soo Thunderbirds.
“Zepps (Zeppa) was unreal tonight, and aside from a handful of guys, we had way too many passengers to compete in the game tonight,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett. “Plain and simple, we got outworked, outplayed and outclassed.”
The Thunderbirds, who have now fallen to 0 wins and 2 losses in this tournament, will be back in action on Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., when they take on the CCHL’s Ottawa Jr. A Senators at Affinity Place in Estevan, Saskatchewan.
(Photo of Thunderbirds forward Youssef Chaouachi credit to Bob Davies)