Thunderbirds retake sole possession of first place



Release Date: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013

Thunderbirds retake sole possession of first place

NORTH BAY – Adam Ritchie notched a hat-trick and dished out three assists to help pace the Soo Thunderbirds past the North Bay Trappers 7-3 Sunday afternoon in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Memorial Gardens.

With the victory the Thunderbirds move to 21-5-3-3 on the year and jump into sole possession of first place in the NOJHL standings, two points clear of the second place Trappers who fell to 20-5-3-3.

Sault Ste. Marie jumped out to the early lead as Matthew Zalewski batted in a loose puck out of mid-air past North Bay starter Dustin Hummel from in close following a goal mouth scramble 1:52 into the contest.

The Thunderbirds added to their lead three minutes later as Ritchie chipped in a rebound following a shot the Trappers netminder could not control.

Continuing their onslaught, the T-Birds made it 3-0 converting on the power play as Brandon Warmington was sent in alone down the left side and calmly tucked the puck between the legs of Hummel at 10:45.

Yet another Soo tally spelled an end to Hummel’s day thanks to a second man advantage marker at 14:12 as Grant Syrette snapped home a shot past the sprawled North Bay netminder for his first goal in a Thunderbirds jersey.

The goalie change that saw affiliate Jesse Morin come in, seemed to spark the Trappers as Tait Seguin redirected a Carter Horwitz point shot during a power play to put the home side on the board with his team-leading 16th goal of the year.

However the Thunderbirds re-established their four-goal lead early in the middle stanza as Dallas McLaughlin fired a pass from behind the side of the net that bounced off the shin pad of Joseph Miller, and in, to make it 5-1 at the 40 second mark.

The Soo continued to pour it on as Ritchie wired his 20th goal of the season into the top right hand corner at 4:28 of the period and the netted his third of the contest and 21st of the campaign at 15:32.

The league’s leading point producer among defencemen in North Bay’s Cole Klippenstein pulled his club close with a couple of late tallies in the middle stanza, including one on the power play with 52 seconds remaining, but that would turn out to be the final goal of the afternoon.

Joel Horodziejczyk finished up with 29 saves in picking up the victory for the T-Birds.

Hummel suffered the loss in just over 14 minutes of work while Morin faced 14 shots in a lengthy relief stint.

NOJHL action resumes Wednesday as the surging Sudbury Nickel Barons look to run a league-high winning streak to nine games as they host the Blind River Beavers in a 7:30 p.m. at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff.