You’ll have to forgive Soo Thunderbirds forward Nick Smith if he’s smiling a little bigger these days.
Thanks to a five-goal effort on Wednesday night, the veteran forward has 15 goals through 17 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey league games, eclipsing his career high of 11 from last season.
Smith’s five goals helped the Thunderbirds to a 12-1 win over the Espanola Express Wednesday at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
Kaidan McDonald and Noah Solinger chipped in with a goal and three assists each for the Thunderbirds while Tyler Malpass and Tristan Cicchello had a goal and an assist each. Nicolas Case and Braden Robbins also score for the Thunderbirds. Alex Acosta and Steven Bellini assisted on two goals each.
Goaltender Eric Schuch made 14 saves.
The Thunderbirds improve to 13-3-0-1 with the victory.
Connor Tessier had the lone goal for Espanola, who falls to 1-14-0-0.
Jacob Hutchings got the start in goal for the Express, stopping 34 of 42 shots in just under 44 minutes of work. Adam Scott came in and stopped five of nine shots the rest of the way.
The Thunderbirds return to action on Saturday night on the road against the Soo (Mich.) Eagles at Pullar Stadium.