Having two goaltenders who can come through at key points in a game is the ideal scenario for any team and for the Soo Thunderbirds, it looks as though the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League club has that luxury early on in the young season.
Making his fifth start of the season on Saturday night, Eric Schuch made 29 saves as the Thunderbirds blanked the Elliot Lake Wildcats 3-0 at the John Rhodes Community Centre in a key West Division matchup.
Schuch has combined with goaltending partner Brandon Gordon to help lead the Thunderbirds to a 7-3-1-0 record through 11 games. The duo has surrendered just 22 goals through 11 games this season.
“Eric and Gordo have been really solid in every game they’ve played,” Thunderbirds Coach John Parco said following Saturday’s win. “I have no worries to play them both. They’re both playing great and they’re both great kids.”
Nick Smith, Brendan Miller and Kaiden McDonald completed the scoring for the Thunderbirds.
“The guys played well enough to win and we did a lot of good things,” Parco said. “We really have a lot still to learn. We win the game 3-0 but we gave up four or five point-blank shots off innocent play where you just have to keep it simple. It’s a learning curve.”
Wildcats goaltender Parker Simpson stopped 18 shots.
Elliot Lake entered the game on the heels of a 5-3 win on home ice over the Cochrane Crunch on Friday night.
The Thunderbirds will host the Crunch on Sunday night in a 7 p.m. puck drop at the John Rhodes Community Centre in what caps off a busy weekend for both clubs with the Thunderbirds ending a stretch of three games in four days and the Crunch wrapping up a three-game road trip that began with the loss to Elliot Lake.