NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE
Release Date: Friday, Sept. 30, 2016
Thunderbirds outscore Eagles 8-5 in high-scoring NOJHL affair
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – There was plenty of offense on both sides, but in the end it was the Soo Thunderbirds who outscored the rival Soo Eagles 8-5 Friday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Essar Centre.
The opening 20 minutes saw each side tally twice with the Eagles greeting new Thunderbirds netminder Dougie Newhouse with markers from Jake Saxton and Rhett Rampinelli while the home side featured Kaiden McDonald and Ryan Waterhouse joining Rampinelli with their first NOJHL goals respectively.
Both teams traded markers early in the middle stanza when Jacob Palmerio connected for the Eagles 68 seconds into the session while Jake Behse countered for the T-Birds four minutes in.
The offensive barrage continued from there as the Thunderbirds took their first lead at 5:34 courtesy of Mark Tassone’s eighth of the campaign only to see the Eagles come right back with the equalizer off the stick of Rampinelli 51 seconds later.
Matthew Caruso, via the power play, and Austin Kozluk at even strength tacked on two more for the T-Birds as they went up 6-4 with just under a half a game to play and also spelled the end of Eagles starter Sean Angle’s night in favour of Justyn Gillis the rest of the way.
The goaltending change helped things tighten from there the remainder of the period as the cross-border rivals went scoreless the rest of the session.
Another T-Birds man advantage marker from Caruso early in the third allowed them to extend their cushion to three as he banged in his second of the night and fifth overall at 1:32.
Tait Aptakin’s third pulled the guests to within 7-5 at 17:54, but Kozluk iced it with an empty netter in the final moments to round out the high-scoring contest.
Defencemen Jake Reed and Aaron Wesley-Chisel had bight nights offensively from the point for the winners as the duo each picked up four assists along the way.
Newhouse finished with 29 saves to pick up the win in his NOJHL debut.
Angle suffered the less for the Eagles allowing six against on 14 attempts while Gillis handled 10 of 11 in just under 30 minutes of relief.
GAME NOTE – According to files courtesy of NOJHL Statistician & Historian David Harrison, this marked the first time since Jan. 29, 2015 that the two-time defending league champion Thunderbirds allowed five or more goals at home. That contest was a 5-2 setback vs. Cochrane.