GALLERY: Thunderbirds rally to earn 9th straight victory



Release Date: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016

Thunderbirds rally to earn 9th straight victory

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds got four points from Matthew Caruso and three assists courtesy of defenceman Jake Behse to help them skate to their nine straight Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory with a 7-5 decision over the Blind River Beavers Tuesday evening at Essar Centre.

Caruso staked the Thunderbirds to the lead just past the eight-minute mark of the contest only to see Yianni Liarakos pulls the visitors even at 15:46.

A man advantage opportunity in the second stanza allowed the Beavers to go in front at 5:28 as Liarakos notched his second of the night and 25th overall.

Blind River then made it 3-1 three minutes later as Zak Lambrecht collected his 18th of the campaign while his side was shorthanded.

After that goal, Sault Ste. Marie opted to replace starter Doug Newhouse in favour of Brandon Gordon the rest of the way.

The move sparked the T-Birds as they rallied with two tallies beginning with Wyatt Villata’s first NOJHL goal at 11:59 while on the power play.

They then tied it late in the session when Caruso connected with just 11 seconds remaining in the stanza.

It was more Soo early in the third thanks to Zach Senecal as he connected on the power play at 2:05 and then struck again nine seconds later on a Noah Solinger effort, which spelled the end of Myles Hektor’s evening in the Blind River net with Aidan Doak entering as his replacement.

Caruso added another midway through the period while Blind River’s Jacob Papesh registered his initial league marker during a man advantage with seven and a half to go.

Antony Pullicino brought the Beavers back to within one at 17:37, but Greg Smith iced it for the Soo with an empty netter in the final seconds to round out the scoring.

Keegan Stevenson and Ryan Waterhouse chipped in with a couple of helpers for the Soo as did Mark Bastianello for Blind River.

Gordon made nine stops on 11 shots in relief to post the win for the Thunderbirds while Newhouse handled 14 of the 17 attempts he saw.

Myles Hektor finished with 12 saves in defeat while Doak stopped each of the attempts he saw.

Photos by James Egan’s Sports Photography