Gallery: Thunderbirds on form in return win over Beavers

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Noah Boman tallied twice in his return to the Soo Thunderbirds roster as part of a 5-2 triumph over the Blind River Beavers in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Wednesday night at John Rhodes Community Centre.

Finding their skating legs after a two-month layoff, it was the Thunderbirds held a 22-8 edge in shots on goal in the initial 20 minutes, but it was the visiting Beavers who opened the scoring in the latter stages of the first period.

On a delayed penalty, Blind River broke into the Sault Ste. Marie zone and were rewarded as Justin Mauro and Devin Mauro combined to get it over to Jacob Kelly on the right wing, who whipped a shot past Thunderbirds netminder Alex Bugeja at 17:35, giving him nine markers in as many outings, on the campaign.

The home side drew level 8:11 into the middle session when Dylan Parsons let a high-rising shot go from the left point that sailed into the top of net to knot the affair at 1-1.

However, midway through the contest, the Beavers’ Ethan Pegg picked off a clearing attempt in the Thunderbirds zone and quickly wired one into the top right hand corner to put the guests back on top.

From there, a fortuitous bounce helped the Soo tie it again as a Warner Young attempt going wide bounced off the end boards and skipped back in front of the net where the puck clipped off the back of goaltender Wyatt Courchaine’s skate and slid into the open goal.

Returning to the Soo line-up Boman bagged his first in his 2021 debut and his 25th career NOJHL goal as he collected his own rebound from in close and then went upstairs at 17:55 to give the hosts a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Some slick stickwork from in tight by Cooper Smyl saw him collect a Young pass, then did a quick spin move, before finishing it off in front of the net 1:41 into the third.

Using a quick give and go with Caleb Wood, the Soo added to their lead half way through the final frame as Boman went bar down over the Beavers’ goaltender as his shot clipped the cross bar and in to help secure the victory.

Finishing with 30 saves, Bugeja earned the win while Courchaine was peppered with 52 attempts in defeat.

The teams teams are back it Friday at John Rhodes in a 7 p.m. start, which can be viewed online via

Game Photos: Bob Davies