The season is still young and the Soo Thunderbirds will look to learn from an early loss.
A late goal by Caleb Minns was the difference as the Blind River Beavers beat the Thunderbirds 2-1 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action on Friday night at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
With just under four minutes to go in regulation time, Minns took a feed from Kaden Laverdiere and beat Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Metivier to put the Beavers ahead for good.
The goal came off a broken play as Thunderbirds defenceman Kyle Trottier blocked Laverdiere’s initial shot before the Beavers forward jumped on the loose puck and fed Minns for the winner.
“Those are the bounces in the game,” said Thunderbirds coach Cole Jarrett. “Last game, we got our bounces and we capitalized on them. They got that bounce in the third and they were able to capitalize.”
“I hated it for Metivier because he played such a great game and battled so hard,” Jarrett added. “For one to just squeak loose and him not to be able to find it just in time hurts for him for sure.”
Jarrett went on to say the game is “about creating your own bounces.”
“We just weren’t good enough tonight to get a bounce,” he added.
Friday’s loss came on the heels of a season-opening win over the Beavers last weekend in Blind River.
Jarrett called Friday’s contest one in which “we got away from our structure a little bit.”
“We saw some habits that are typical of game two of the season,” Jarrett added. “It wasn’t our best effort, but overall, it was definitely something we can build off and learn from.”
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring midway through the first period as Samuel Lake picked up his first NOJHL goal.
The 17-year-old found himself in the slot and converted a feed from Colby Arbour below the goalline to give the home team the lead.
Blind River evened the score with just over two minutes to go in the opening frame when Jesse Dupuis found himself open to the left of the Thunderbirds goal and took a feed from Jackson Barnes on the power play.
The teams skated through a scoreless second period, setting the stage for the eventual game-winner by Minns.
Beavers goaltender Jeremi Delaquis made 47 saves in the game, including 29 in the third period.
“Definitely for the first 10 minutes of each period, it felt like we were able to carry the play and put pucks to the net,” Jarrett said. “Their goaltender played fantastic and made some big saves when he had to, but we settled a lot for just shots from the perimeter to get the shot total up. They did a good job in front of him of clearing rebounds and boxing our guys out.”
“We have to figure out how to get to those rebounds and get to the net,” Jarrett also said.
Metivier finished the night with 20 saves for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds return to action on Sunday afternoon at home against the Greater Sudbury Cubs. Puck drop at the John Rhodes Community Centre is set for 2 p.m.