By Matt Stefano
A game can change pretty quickly, especially when you’re on the power play.
That’s what the Soo Thunderbirds showed to the Elliot Lake Red Wings and their fans on Friday night in Elliot Lake.
With the game tied 2-2 late in the third period, the Soo Thunderbirds ended up scoring three times in the final four minutes of regulation, including a pair of goals on the power play, as they went on to defeat the Elliot Lake Red Wings by a score of 5-2 at Centennial Arena.
“We were able to capitalize on our two power play opportunities which is a credit to the hard work our two units have put in over the last few weeks,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett, whose team now has a total of 42 power play goals this season, which is currently the third most in the entire NOJHL.
With the game tied 2-2 with under four minutes to go in the third period, the Thunderbirds then got a pair of power play tallies from rookie forward Jackson Truchan just 1:13 apart, which quickly turned a 2-2 tie into a 4-2 Thunderbirds lead.
Truchan’s first power play tally of the game, came on a two-man advantage at the 16:52 mark of the third period from Kaden Dundas and Ranon Joseph, which at that time gave the Soo a 3-2 lead.
Truchan would then get his second power play tally of the game at the 18:05 mark of the third period from Brock Santa Maria and Dharan Cap, which then put the Soo up 4-2.
“I scored two perfect back-door passes from my teammates Santa (Santa Maria) and Dundas,” said Soo Thunderbirds rookie forward Jackson Truchan, who now leads his team in power play goals this season with 8. “They (Santa Maria and Dundas) found me wide open and put it right on my tape for me to easily finish home and score. Once I got the first power play goal, I knew we had to get the next one (Power play goal) to put Elliot Lake away and seal the win.”
During Friday night’s game, the Thunderbirds went two-for-two on the power play, thanks to back-to-back power play tallies by Jackson Truchan, while also going a perfect three-for-three on their penalty kill.
During Friday night’s game, the Thunderbirds also dominated on the shot clock, as they outshot the Red Wings 44-21 overall, including 16-8 in the final period.
“Our possession was great all night tonight,” Jarrett said. “We did a good job of getting pucks to the net and it showed tonight on the shot clock.”
Thunderbirds leading scorer Dharan Cap led the way offensively on Friday night in Elliot Lake, as he scored once and set up two others, good for his third-straight multi-point game.
Cap opened the scoring at the 12:58 mark of the first period, with his 20th goal of the season from Youssef Chaouachi and Ranon Joseph, which gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
Chaouachi and Joseph, who drew the assists on Dharan Cap’s opening goal of the game, both finished the night with a pair of assists each.
Austin Fellinger and Michael Chaffay (Empty net goal in the third) had the other goals for the Thunderbirds on Friday night while Samuel Lake also got on the scoresheet with one assist.
Alex Antoine and Zachary Vickerman had a goal each for the Red Wings while Braeden Vis, Sam Noad, Noah Aboflan and Evan Dantas all chipped in with one assist each.
Red Wings goaltender Sean Guerin gave up 4 goals on 43 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Kolton Bourret made 19 saves for the victory.
Despite giving up 4 goals on 43 shots, Guerin was still named third-star of the game.
“I thought we played a really good sixty minutes tonight and if it wasn’t for two breakdowns that led to their (Elliot Lake) goals, it would’ve been a near perfect game for us,” Jarrett said. “Also, credit to Elliot Lake’s goalie (Sean Guerin) tonight, because he made some big saves which kept the game close until the final four minutes of the third.”
With the win, the Thunderbirds have now improved their record to 26-10-2-1, good for 55 points, and have now moved one point ahead of the Blind River Beavers for second place in the NOJHL’s West Division standings
The Beavers also still hold one game in hand.
Next action for the Thunderbirds will be tonight at 7:00 p.m., when they will take on the Soo Eagles at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
(Photo of Soo Thunderbirds forward Jackson Truchan credit to Bob Davies)