Truchan and Zeppa help out in T-Birds fifth straight victory

By Matt Stefano

The Soo Thunderbirds have extended their winning streak to five games for the second time this season.

After trailing the Soo Eagles 1-0 after twenty minutes of play, the Soo Thunderbirds came back to score three unanswered goals, including two in the second period, as they defeated the Soo Eagles by a score of 3-1 at the Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Friday night.

“I thought we played a pretty good game tonight,” said T-Birds forward Daniel Beaupre, whose team had 40 shots on net, including 17 in the second period. “We were happy with our effort in the first (period), but we knew we had to bury our chances and that’s what we did in the final forty minutes.”

On Friday night, the Soo Thunderbirds also welcomed back rookie forward Jackson Truchan, who was back in the Thunderbirds lineup after serving a four-game suspension.

With the Thunderbirds trailing the Eagles 1-0 just over twelve minutes into the second, Truchan scored his 14th goal of the season at 12:03 from Daniel Beaupre and Kolby Fellinger, which at that time tied the game at one.

Truchan, who scored his 14th goal of the season on Friday night, also extended his point-scoring streak to nine games.

“It felt amazing to be back tonight,” Truchan said. “My emotions were high and I was so pumped to play and just get out there again. It always feels great to help my team get the victories, but we all played as a tight group tonight from the goal-line out.”

Just 2:36 after Truchan’s goal, it would then be T-Birds defenceman Tyler Boudreau getting his 2nd goal of the season from Brock Santa Maria, which gave the T-Birds a 2-1 lead heading into the third.

With Eagles goaltender Reid Ramsay on the bench late in the game for an extra attacker, the T-Birds then got an empty net goal by their leading scorer Dharan Cap at the 18:25 mark of the third period, which made the score 3-1 for the Sault, Ontario Birds.

Cap’s empty net goal, also turned out to be his second empty net goal of the season.

Former Soo Thunderbirds forward Kenny Belanger Jr. had the lone goal for the Eagles, which came at the 15:08 mark of the first period from Coby Fox and Colin Handy.

Eagles goaltender Reid Ramsay gave up 2 goals on 39 shots in the loss while T-Birds netminder Noah Zeppa made 27 saves for the victory.

Zeppa, who picked up the win for the T-Birds on Friday night, also played in his first game this season since rejoining the T-Birds back on December 3.

“It obviously feels great to get my first win of the season, especially at the Pullar,” said Zeppa, who was unsure if he wanted to play hockey at the start of this season and ended up playing in his first game in 222 days. “The group played well in front of me like always, and as a team we are definitely moving in a positive direction. The Thunderbirds organization showed trust in me tonight, and I’m super grateful for the opportunity.”

In 18 games played with the T-Birds during the 2021-2022 regular season, Zeppa had a record of 15 wins, 1 loss, 1 shootout loss and 1 shutout, along with a .912 save percentage and a 2.07 goals against average.

He then recorded 4 wins and 1 loss in 5 games played during the 2022 postseason.

The last time Zeppa saw action between the pipes, was back on May 1, 2022, in game 1 of the NOJHL final against the Hearst Lumberjacks.

“I definitely didn’t know what to expect coming into tonight’s contest, but I felt like I stayed composed and calm throughout the duration of the game,” Zeppa said. “I have the utmost confidence in this team to win any game and they made my job easy tonight.”

“It felt really good to get the two points tonight, especially in Zeppa’s first game back,” added T-Birds captain Brock Santa Maria. “Zepps also made some big stops tonight that kept us in the game when we needed him the most.”

The T-Birds will now be back in action on Wednesday, December 14 at 7:00 p.m., when they will take on the Elliot Lake Red Wings at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault, Ontario.

Wednesday, December 14 will also be the T-Birds final home game before the Christmas break and the new year.


On December 5, it was announced that former Soo Thunderbirds affiliate player Jack Matier has been selected to tryout for Team Canada for this year’s IIHF World Junior Championship.

Matier, who is currently a star defenceman with the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s, played in two games (Including one in the postseason) with the Soo Thunderbirds back in 2018-2019.


On Friday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were once again without their rookie goaltender Landon Miller, as he is currently serving as a backup goalie with the Ontario Hockey League’s Soo Greyhounds, due to the injury of their starting their goaltender Charlie Schenkel.

And on Friday night with the Hounds, Miller got some playing time between the pipes!

On Friday night, T-Birds goaltender Landon Miller played in the entire third period with the Greyhounds in their 7-2 loss to the Oshawa Generals in Oshawa, Ontario.

Miller, who replaced goaltender Samuel Ivanov at the start of the third period, stopped 9 out of 11 shots in the final twenty minutes of play.

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