Thunderbirds skate to 3-1 win over Espanola



Release Date: Monday, Feb. 8, 2016

Thunderbirds skate to 3-1 win over Espanola

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Jaren Bellini goal with 9:36 remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds defeated the Espanola Express 3-1 Monday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Essar Centre.

Espanola netminder Kevin Labelle kept the league-leading Thunderbirds off the board through a scoreless opening 20 minutes making 10 saves along the way.

The contest did not get its first tally until the 12:59 mark of the second when Sault Ste. Marie finally solved Labelle on defenceman Aiden Salerno’s third of the season.

It stayed 1-0 into the final frame where the Express tied it at 7:19 when Dominik Lavergne finished off the work of Patrick Smith and Jason Bednarski for his 10th of the season.

The Thunderbirds came back with the eventual difference maker three minutes later thanks to Bellini, who collected his 22nd goal of 2015-16.

Special teams allowed the T-Birds to supply an insurance marker with four and a half minutes left as Adam McPhail connected on the power play to round out the scoring.

Brendon Gordon only faced nine shots in the Soo net as he had a relatively quiet night in picking up the victory.

Labelle meanwhile turned in a strong performance as he was busy making 42 saves in defeat for Espanola.

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