Thunderbirds winning streak ends at eight

By Matt Stefano

After defeating the Espanola Express by a score of 7-5 this past Sunday in Espanola and extending their winning streak to eight games, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to extend their winning streak to nine games for the second time this season on Friday night as they were in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to take on the Soo Eagles.

Friday night’s game was also game No. 28 on the Soo Thunderbirds schedule, marking the midway point of their 2018-2019 regular season.

The Thunderbirds had their eight game winning streak snapped on Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Soo Eagles at Pullar Stadium.

The Eagles opened the scoring at the 10:05 mark of the first period, courtesy of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Caleb Wood, who got his fifteenth goal of the season.

Wood’s fifteenth goal of the season, also moved him into a tie with Hunter Brazier (French River Rapids) for first among NOJHL rookies in goals.

Another Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native would then get a goal for the Soo Eagles with 2:01 to go in the first, as Raf Praysner would get his ninth goal of the season from Ryan Dacks and Riley Jensen, putting the Michigan Soo up 2-0 after the first.

The Eagles would take a 3-0 lead just thirty five seconds into the middle frame, courtesy of Ryan Dacks second goal of the season from Raf Praysner and Riley Jensen.

The Thunderbirds would then respond at the 4:13 mark of the second period, as Nolan Ford would get his sixth goal of the season on the power play from Gage Stephney and Tristan Cicchello, cutting the Eagles lead to 3-1.

Stephney’s assist on Ford’s power play goal, also extended his point streak to seven games.

The Thunderbirds trailed the Eagles 3-1 heading into the third period.

Just thirty nine seconds into the final frame, it would be Thunderbirds forward and NOJHL’s leading scorer Lucas Theriault getting his twenty first goal of the season from Kobe Seguin and Jonathan Mackin, cutting the Eagles lead to 3-2.

Theriault’s twenty first goal of the season, also moved him into sole possession of first in NOJHL goal scoring, moving him one ahead of Gregory Trudeau-Paquet (Kirkland Lake Gold Miners) and Austin Whelan (Cochrane Crunch).

Despite outshooting the Eagles 12-8 in the third period, the Thunderbirds were unable to tie the game at three.

Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato was named first star of the game, making twenty nine saves for the victory while Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern was named third star of the game, making thirty two saves in the loss.

The Thunderbirds will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m., when they take on the Soo Eagles in the second game of a home and home series at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

(Photo of Colin Ahern credit to Rod Aubertin/

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