Thunderbirds move back into 1st in NOJHL West with triumph over division-rival Canadians

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds picked up a pair of tallies from Mark Tassone to help lift them to a narrow 3-2 decision over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians Thursday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at Chelmsford Arena.

It took Rayside-Balfour just 101 seconds to open the night’s scoring in this one when defenceman Andre Frappier collected his initial goal of the season to put the home side in front.

Sault Ste. Marie countered just past the five-minute mark of the first period however compliments of Tassone.

He then put the Thunderbirds up 2-1 as he notched his second of night a couple of shifts after that.

The Canadians got that back at 15:51 on James White’s 10thmarker of the campaign to knot the affair at 2-2 after one.

Heading into the middle stanza, the Soo went back in front at 3:05 as Tristan Cicchelo finished off the work of teammates Brendan Miller and Nolan Ford in what turned out to be the game-winner along with the final offensive effort on the night as the visitors rode that margin to victory.

Thunderbirds goaltender Brandon Gordon shut the door the rest of the way keeping the Canadians from tying it as they secured the road decision.

Gordon finished with 28 stops in the triumph while MacKenzie Savard faced 32 attempts in defeat for Rayside-Balfour.

With the result, the Thunderbirds moved back into first place in the NOJHL’s West Division, one point ahead of the idle Blind River Beavers.

The Soo, now 17-7-2-0, has 36 points on the campaign and also hold four games in hand on the Beavers.

Rayside-Balfour meanwhile stays at 33 points in the division as their record slipped to 16-8-0-1 overall.

Photo courtesy of Rob and Caleigh Fera: