Thunderbirds vs Rock Game Preview

By Matt Stefano

For the second consecutive week, the Soo Thunderbirds have earned honourable mention in the CJHL’s Top 20 Weekly Rankings and currently sit tied for first in the NOJHL with the Powassan Voodoos.

Tonight the Soo will have their second meeting of the season against the Timmins Rock, who will make their first and only regular season visit to the John Rhodes at 7:30 p.m.


In one meeting this season, the Thunderbirds defeated the Rock by a score of 1-0 back on September 10th at McIntyre Arena in Timmins.

Nick Smith’s first goal of the season proved to be the game-winner while Brandon Gordon turned aside all 26 shots directed his way.


Since scoring his first goal of the season in that win over Timmins, Smith has then notched 14 more goals and currently leads the Thunderbirds with 15 goals and sits tied for first in team points (21) with forward Noah Solinger.


Nick Smith is currently tied for first in NOJHL goals (15) with French River Rapids forward Gregory Trudeau-Paquet, and is also tied for first in league game-winning goals (3) with Marshal Nikitin of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

The goaltending of Brandon Gordon and Eric Schuch have also been impressive as Schuch currently has the best goals against average (1.88) in the league while Gordon has the second best at 1.99.


First year defenceman Austin Heinrich is the latest Thunderbird to score his first NOJHL goal.

The Spring Water, Ontario product found the back of the net for the first time this season on October 21st in a 4-3 loss to the Soo Eagles at Pullar Stadium.


Forward Nick Smith scored 5 goals on October 18th in a 12-1 victory over the Espanola Express at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

His 5 goal performance also tied the Soo Thunderbirds record for most goals in a game, joining Derek Mackay, David Borrelli, and Matt Dias.


After beginning the 2017-2018 season with the Soo Greyhounds, defenceman Robert Calisti has been assigned to the Thunderbirds.

The Toronto, Ontario product played in his first NOJHL game on October 21st in the Thunderbirds 4-3 loss to the Soo Eagles at the Pullar Stadium, but tonight he is expected to make his home debut against the Timmins Rock.

Calisti was taken by the Hounds 44th overall during the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

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