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Thunderbirds split at NOJHL showcase

The two-day event in Sudbury saw the team pick up an overtime win over Timmins and a loss to Hearst
2022-10-05ThunderbirdsVsHearstNOJHL (1)
NOJHL showcase action between the Soo Thunderbirds and Hearst Lumberjacks at Sudbury's Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex on Oct. 5, 2022.

As the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League descended on Sudbury for showcase play this week, the Soo Thunderbirds will return home with a split from the two-day event.

The Thunderbirds wrapped up the event on Wednesday afternoon with a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Hearst Lumberjacks at Sudbury’s Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

After the Thunderbirds battled back from a 2-0 deficit after one period, the Lumberjacks scored a pair of goals in the final period and the Thunderbirds couldn’t replicate the comeback bid in the loss.

Mason Svarich opened the scoring for Hearst on the power play in the opening period as he scored on a rebound in tight after Thunderbirds goaltender Kolton Bourret initially stopped a point shot by Hearst’s Jett Mintenko on the play.

The Lumberjacks took a 2-0 lead as Riley Klugerman finished off a give-and-go with Emile Pichette on a 2-on-1 with 1:42 to go in the opening period.

The Thunderbirds got on the board 1:54 into the second period to cut the Hearst lead to 2-1. After a turnover in the high slot, Ludovic Raymond’s initial chance was stopped by Lumberjacks goaltender Ethan Dinsdale before Samuel Lake batted the rebound in.

Midway through the period, the Thunderbirds tied the game at two thanks to a shorthanded marker by defenceman Kaden Dundas. After a turnover by Hearst in the Sault zone, Dundas hit Jackson Truchan with a pass near the Lumberjacks blueline before taking the return feed in the slot and beating Dinsdale.

Hearst took a 3-2 lead just over two minutes into the third period when a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle by Ethan Kitsch deflected up and over Bourret.

Mathieu Comeau made it 4-3 Hearst at 7:28 of the third when he skated into the Thunderbirds zone, cut into the slot and beat Bourret with a shot through a Sault defender.

The Thunderbirds pulled to within one at 9:48 when Brodie McConnell-Barker scored his second goal in as many games. The young blueliner skated into the left faceoff circle before beating Dinsdale to make it 4-3.

Pichette sealed the win for the Hearst with an empty net goal in the final minute of regulation time.

Bourret made 26 saves for the Thunderbirds in the loss.

Pichette and Klugerman finished the day with a goal and an assist each for Hearst while Dinsdale made 31 saves between the pipes.

On Tuesday night, the Thunderbirds picked up a 3-2 overtime win against the Timmins Rock.

Youssef Chaouachi opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds against Timmins just over 11 minutes into the game. The sophomore forward beat Timmins goaltender Jacob Brown high glove side on a one-timer from the slot on a feed from Dharan Cap from below the goalline.

With 2:25 to go in the period, a point shot by Dundas found its way past Brown after hitting Thunderbirds forward Anton Petrovskiy in close after it handcuffed Brown.

Timmins got on the board on the power play when Nicholas Frederick deflected a point shot from Kenyon Nyman past Thunderbirds goaltender Landon Miller at 2:30.

The Rock tied the game 95 seconds into the third period when Brady Harroun jumped on a loose puck in the right circle and beat Miller with a shot glove side.

McConnell-Barker then gave the Thunderbirds the victory after going end-to-end, stepping around a Timmins player in the left faceoff circle before slipping a backhand past Brown 34 seconds into overtime.

The Thunderbirds return to action on Friday night in the Michigan Sault when they take on the Soo Eagles in a 7:30 p.m. start at Pullar Stadium. The locals will take s 4-6-0-0 record into the contest while the Eagles hold a 5-3-0-0 record.

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Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at FoxSports.com in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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