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Soo Thunderbirds stay unbeaten with road win at Espanola

ESPANOLA, Ont. – Steven Bellini and Lucas Theriault both chipped in with two goals apiece to help the Soo Thunderbirds skate to a 7-3 victory over the Espanola Express in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Friday at the Regional Recreation Complex.

Picking up the night’s initial man advantage opportunity, Sault Ste. Marie got on the board 6:27, via the power play, as Bellini finished off a Nolan Ford feed.

Coming off a four-point outing in his last game, Theriault added to the visitors’ lead five minutes later before Nick Smith’s second in the latter stages of the first period put the guests up by three during a man advantage.

Moving on to the middle stanza, Espanola came out quickly to get themselves on the board thanks to Bret McInall who picked up his first for the Express, 60 seconds into the frame.

However, Bellini put the visitors back up by three at 6:01 while Theriault added another to give him five on the season, which ties him for the most in the league to date.

Continuing to press the pace, the Thunderbirds added to their lead later in the frame thanks to a Noah Boman effort while Brendan Miller followed that 23 seconds later to make it 7-1 Soo after 40 minutes.

Espanola got another quickly to begin the third compliments of Logan Fennema at the 32-second mark.

Continuing to battle, the Express added one more off the stick of Chase Lammi with 8:20 remaining to round out the night’s scoring.

Tyler Malpass had two assists for the Thunderbirds to aid their offensive cause helping his side remain unbeaten as they improved to 4-0 early on the year.

William Anderson got the nod in net for the Thunderbirds and picked up the win by making 18 saves on 21 shots.

Joel Rainville started for the Express and allowed three against on 12 attempts before giving way to back-up Ryan Hale who suffered the loss in long relief as he handled 21 of the 25 pucks fired his way in over 42 minutes of work.