GALLERY: T-Birds win 5th straight with triumph over Beavers



Release Date: Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016

T-Birds win 5th straight with triumph over Beavers

BLIND RIVER, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds stormed out to an early three-goal lead then withstood a comeback bid by the Blind River Beavers before eventually prevailing 5-3 Wednesday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at the Blind River Community Centre.

It did not take the Thunderbirds long to get things going offensively as Keegan Stevenson put the visitors on the board just 12 seconds after the opening face-off.

Ryan Mulligan then made it 2-0 for the Thunderbirds midway through the first period to extend their cushion.

Sault Ste. Marie kept coming and added a third goal on the night 4:19 into the middle session on a Nick Smith effort spelling an early end to Beavers’ starter Myles Hektor’s night in favour of back-up Aidan Doak.

Blind River bounced back after the goaltending change and struck for a pair of tallies before the frame was complete as Mark Bastianello connected at even strength less than three minutes later before Anthony Bastianello notched his first NOJHL marker, during a man advantage opportunity, at 15:32.

The Beavers then tied it up early in the third when Caleb Serre picked up his ninth of the campaign.

The Thunderbirds would regroup however and picked up the eventual game-winner with 5:35 left in regulation thanks to Noah Solinger, who finished off a Mulligan feed.

The Soo then secured the victory with 21 seconds left on an empty net goal by Matthew Caruso to go along with two earlier assists as he completed a three-point night.

Zac Lambrecht had a pair of helpers for the home side in defeat.

Shots on goal in the contest favoured the T-Birds by a 35-25 count with Brandon Gordon picking up the win in net.

Hektor allowed three against on 11 attempts for Blind River in just over 24 minutes of work while Doak suffered the loss in relief stopping 22 of 23 along the way.

With the result, the 20-7-1-0 Thunderbirds has won five consecutive games and have regained sole possession of first place in the NOJHL West Division standings moving two points clear of the 18-8-2-1 Rayside-Balfour Canadians while Blind River saw their overall record slip to 15-12-0-0.