GALLERY: Thunderbirds conclude regular season with 12th consecutive victory



Release Date: Sunday, March 5, 2017

Thunderbirds conclude regular season with 12th consecutive victory

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – There’s no hotter team heading into the upcoming Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs than the Soo Thunderbirds.

Sault Ste. Marie reeled off their 12th consecutive victory Sunday by disposing of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 7-0 Sunday afternoon at Essar Centre.

It took the Thunderbirds just 71 seconds to supply the eventual game-winner in the contest with Gage Stephney notching his 16th goal of the season.

Stephney and Wyatt Villalta then helped set-up Soo captain Matthew Caruso for his 29th of the year while they were shorthanded to make it 2-0 after one period of play.

It was more T-Birds in the middle stanza as they tacked on three more tallies to go up by five.

Affiliate Braden Caruso’s initial NOJHL goal made it 3-0 at 5:44 before Sean Emmerson and Greg Smith added later efforts to extend the home side’s cushion.

Keegan Stevenson contributed one more for the Soo in the third with Stephney adding his fourth point of the day on his third assist.

Kaidan McDonald supplied one final marker for the home side with 3:29 to go to conclude the scoring.

Dougie Newhouse started for Thunderbirds and picked up the win by making 13 saves before giving way to teammate Brandon Gordon midway through the game. Gordon handled each of the seven attempts he saw in relief.

The shutout was the Soo’s league-leading ninth of the season.

Simon Wood suffered the loss for the Canadians allowing the seven against on 35 shots.

Along with winning their 12th straight the Soo is also unbeaten in their past 16 outings with 15 victories and a tie to their credit.

Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin / SSM