Thunderbirds hit holiday break with win vs. Express

ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League-leading Soo Thunderbirds wrapped up the 2018 portion of their regular season Friday by skating to a 4-1 victory over the Espanola Express at the Regional Recreation Complex.

Sault Ste. Marie came out strong in the contest as they took a 2-0 lead before the match-up was four minutes old on markers from Nate Medalgia, at even strength, and Lucas Theriault, via the power play, who notched his NOJHL-best 23rd tally of the season.

Moving on to the middle session, Noah Boman put the visitors up by three at 8:38 of the second as he picked up 13th overall.

Espanola cut into the deficit before the stanza was complete thanks to Jace Pitawanakwat’s first of the season in just his third game with help from Bret McInall and the initial NOJHL point from Nelson Manguereka, who earned the second assist on the play.

The Soo then secured the decision in the final frame as Theriault added his league-leading 24th 6:45 into the third to round out the night’s scoring.

William Anderson finished with 29 saves, and an assist, to record the win for the Thunderbirds while Andrew Rocha faced 31 shots in net for Espanola.

With the decision, the Thunderbirds became the first NOJHL side to crack the 50-point plateau on the campaign as they improved to 25-7-0-1 on the year while the Express slipped to 7-30-0-0 in defeat.