Late goal lifts Thunderbirds to winSunday, October 28, 2012 by: Brad Coccimiglio
The Soo Thunderbirds continued their hot start to the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League season on Sunday afternoon.
As the team continues a nine-game homestand, the Thunderbirds beat the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4-3 at the Essar Centre Sunday, improving the team record to 12-1-1-2 on the season. The win also marks the fifth straight for the Thunderbirds, who have not lost a game in regulation time since a 6-3 loss in North Bay on Sept. 23.
Despite the result, Thunderbirds coach Warren LaVoy wasn’t pleased with his club in the win.
“We were terrible,” said LaVoy. “We’re just not consistent. Compared to last night, (the effort) was not even close. We just got by (Sunday) which is unacceptable.”
After Greg Sartoretto opened the scoring in the first period, the Thunderbirds used a pair of goals in the second period – by Adam Ritchie and Darcy Casola – to build up a 3-1 lead. The trouble came in the final minute of the period for the Thunderbirds when Brandon Warmington was handed a major penalty for slashing with 55 seconds remaining in the period.
The Gold Miners used the power play to tie the game up in the opening minute of the third period as Royce King and Tanner Lafrance scored 21 seconds apart to tie the game at three. Jean-Michel Naud had the other goal for the Gold Miners.
“To take a penalty like that, it brings everybody down,” said LaVoy. “To go out there and have to battle a five-minute penalty is hard. Your mindset isn’t quite clear. You’re irritated because of the call. You’re back on your heels and it’s hard to beat that.”
Adam Ritchie played the role of the hero for the Thunderbirds as he scored the game winning goal with just over two minutes left in the game.
Kirkland Lake coach Marc Lafleur said following the loss that there were some positives despite the result.
“We didn’t play as well as we have the last couple of nights but it’s all relative to who you’re playing against,” said Lafleur. “We were a little tied and a little flat and that’s to be expected for the third game in three nights. We came back from 3-1 down in the third period on the power play and gave ourselves a chance to win but they capitalized at the end. They’re in first-place and there’s a reason for that.”
The Thunderbirds continue their homestand on Sunday afternoon when they host the North Bay Trappers in a 3 p.m. start at the Essar Centre.