GALLERY: Thunderbirds blank Rock

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds picked up two goals from Nick Smith while goaltenders Eric Schuch and Brandon Gordon combined to stop all 22 shots they faced to shutout the Timmins Rock 5-0 Thursday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at John Rhodes Community Centre.

On the power play midway through the first period, Sault Ste. Marie picked up the lone marker of the opening stanza thanks to Noah Solinger’s ninth of the campaign.

A big second stanza helped the Thunderbirds break it open as they tallied three times to go up by four through 40 minutes.

After Lucas Theriault made it 2-0 at 4:11 of the frame, Smith picked up his first of the evening later in the session to put the Soo up 3-0.

The Thunderbirds kept coming and added their second man advantage marker of the contest with 39 seconds left in the period with Tristan Cicchello notching the goal.

Smith’s NOJHL-leading 28th tally of the season capped off the win for the Soo in the third with a shorthanded effort to help secure the home ice triumph.

Forward Camaryn Baber and defenceman Austin Heinrich both chipped in with two assists apiece for the Thunderbirds.

Schuch started in net for the Soo and saw nearly 36 minutes of action stopping all 14 shots he faced in picking up the win before giving way to Gordon, who in turn handled all nine attempts he saw in relief to share the shutout.

Eric Jackson started for Timmins and suffered the loss allowing four against on 18 shots while Tyler Masternak saved 10 of 11 while playing the third period.

Photos courtesy of  James Egan’s Sports Photography