Thunderbirds return home to beat EspanolaSaturday, September 21, 2013 by: Brad Coccimiglio
The Soo Thunderbirds were back in action on Friday night on home ice as they hosted the Espanola Rivermen at the Essar Centre.
The Thunderbirds improved to 4-1 on the young Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League season as they picked up a 4-2 win over Espanola.
Joey Miller scored a pair of first period goals to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 through one period while Gavin Burbach and Nicholas Tassone also scored for the locals in the win.
“We had a great start and we (the coaching staff) challenged them to maintain that energy throughout the game, which is tough to do,” said Thunderbirds coach Jordan Smith. “We got away from that in the second period but (goaltender) Joel (Horodziejczyk) was great when he needed to be. He made some key saves and gave us a chance to win the game.”
Horodziejczyk stopped 17 shots in the win.
“The guys are starting to buy in and we’re starting to understand what’s going to make us successful,” said Thunderbirds coach Jordan Smith. “We need to learn to stick with it over 60 minutes. It’s not an easy thing. That’s why it’s difficult to be successful day-in and day-out.”
Brennan Dubchak and Daniel Butchart scored for Espanola in the loss. Goaltender Griffin Strain stopped 30 shots in the loss.
“I didn’t think we came out of the shoot very well,” said Espanola coach Tom McCarthy. “We stood around and watched in the first 20 minutes to see how the other team would perform and see how they were going to play and how we’re supposed to play. That’s been a little bit of our achilles heel right now.”
“We played a lot better in the second and the third,” said McCarthy. If we came out and pressured, we wouldn’t have fallen behind out of the gate.”
The Thunderbirds are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Blind River to take on the Beavers. The Rivermen are off the rest of the weekend.
In other action on Friday night, Elliot Lake beat the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 3-1 while North Bay beat Kirkland Lake 3-1