Defending champion Thunderbirds open with win over Canadians



Release Date: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016

Defending champion Thunderbirds open with win over Canadians

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The defending Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League champion Soo Thunderbirds began their season with a victory as they dropped the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 6-2 Saturday in a contest held at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

It took the T-Birds 71 seconds to pick-up their initial tally of 2016-17 as Zach Senecal beat Canadians starter Owen Johansson.

Rayside-Balfour drew level before the opening frame was complete with Bradey Johnson banging in his third marker in just two games.

The two sides then traded tallies in the first half of the middle stanza with Matt Busby connecting for Sault Ste. Marie and Matthew Neault doing likewise for Rayside-Balfour.

Tallies 14 seconds apart later in the session allowed the Thunderbirds to go up by a pair as Mark Tassone and Turner Santin’s first NOJHL goal struck in rapid succession for the home side.

The Soo then put the game away in the third with Santin and Keegan Stevenson striking just 20 seconds apart early in the stanza.

Kaiden McDonald dished out three assists for the Thunderbirds in the win while Matthew Caruso had a couple helpers along the way.

The winners held the edge in shots on goal by a 31-30 count with Brandon Gordon earning the triumph and Johansson the defeat.

The Thunderbirds return to their regular home Sunday evening as they host the Elliot Lake Wildcats at Essar Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.