McDonald’s 4-point performance leads Thunderbirds over Wildcats

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – Kaidan McDonald tallied three times and dished out an assist in leading the Soo Thunderbirds to a 4-2 victory over the Elliot Lake Wildcats in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Thursday night at Centennial Arena.

Things started well for the Wildcats as Eric Conley kept his recent scoring pace going by connecting in his fourth straight outing to give the home side the lead five and a half minutes into the contest.

Noah Minns helped set-up that up as he ran a consecutive game point streak to five in succession and has now only been held off the score sheet four times since the end of November in continuing to impress in his rookie year.

Coming into the match-up, the league-leading Thunderbirds led the NOJHL in goals scored with 196 and had allowed the least tallies against at 131.

Elliot Lake managed to keep high-scoring Sault Ste. Marie off the board until late in the second stanza when their power play, which also tops the league, converted with 19 seconds remaining in the session as McDonald collected his 16th marker of the campaign during a man advantage with assists going to Tristan Cicchello and Lucas Theriault.

McDonald was at it again 5:40 into the third as he notched his second of the night to put the Soo in front.

From there, Theriault bagged his NOJHL-best 35th marker near the 13-minute plateau, which proved be to his seventh game-winner of 2018-19, as that too leads all league skaters.

Conley added another for the Wildcats at 16:26, however McDonald sealed the road win for the Thunderbirds in the final moments to complete his hat trick, into an empty net, and register his team’s 200th goal of the season to round out the scoring.

Brendan Miller chipped in with three assists for the Soo.

Goalkeeper William Anderson made 31 saves to win his sixth start in a row for the Thunderbirds while Elliot Lake Zion Miceli netminder faced 41 shots in defeat.