Thunderbirds split, move into tie for firstSunday, September 29, 2013 by: Brad Coccimiglio
The Soo Thunderbirds moved into a tie for first in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League standings on Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to a 6-1 win at the Essar Centre over the North Bay Trappers, the Thunderbirds now find themselves in a three-way tie for first with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners and Espanola Rivermen with 12 points.
The Thunderbirds opened up a 3-1 lead through one period and cruised to the win. Despite shooting the Thunderbirds 11-9 in the third period, the Thunderbirds held a 36-8 shot advantage through two periods.
“It was a good bounce-back effort from Friday night,” said Thunderbirds coach Jordan Smith. “To win in this league you’ve got to have the work ethic and today they worked hard within the system and it paid off.”
Gavin Burbach led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds with three goals and an assist in the win.
“He’s been our offensive catalyst thus far,” said Smith of the veteran Thunderbirds forward. “He’s a good example of when he plays within the system, he’s successful. That’s when he’s scoring the goals. We’re trying to break some bad habits that a lot of veterans have but they’re all buying in so it’s nice to see.”
Anthony Miller and Eric Hilock added a goal and two assists each for the Thunderbirds in the win while Jaren Bellini also scored. Goaltender Brian Kment stopped 18 shots in the win.
Jake Staples had the lone goal for North Bay in the loss. Staples scored the opening goal of the game on the Trappers first shot of the night. Goaltender Evan Cormier made 38 saves in the loss.
“We just didn’t come to play. It’s as simple as that,” said North Bay coach Zane Neily. “If Corms (Trapper goaltender Evan Cormier) doesn’t play the way he does, it’s a 10-0 game in the first period.”
The Thunderbirds opened the weekend on Friday night with a loss on the road in Elliot Lake to the Bobcats.
Daniel Pyymaki had a goal and an assist in the loss while Joey Miller had the other goal. Goaltender Joel Horodziejczyk stopped 30 shots in the loss.
Brett Wagner, Damon Reeves and Ryan Fletcher had a goal and an assist each for Elliot Lake. Jacob Irwin and Brad Holman also scored for Elliot Lake in the win. Goaltender Etienne Roy stopped 40 shots.
The Thunderbirds played the game with just 14 skaters.
Next up for the Thunderbirds is a road game in Sudbury on Wednesday night against the Nickel Barons before returning home for games against Blind River on Oct. 4 and North Bay on Oct. 6.