SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds picked up a pair of goals from rookie defenceman Robert Calisti to help power them past the visiting Espanola Express 7-2 Sunday afternoon in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Sault Ste. Marie pressed the pace in the first period, outshooting Espanola 16-3 in the frame, but would only score once when Mark Tassone connected on the power play at 17:02.
Brendan Miller upped the Soo cushion early in the middle stanza before Joel Grandbois put the Express on the board midway through the contest.
However the Thunderbirds struck shorthanded at 15:12 with Noah Solinger collecting the eventual game-winner.
Calisti then added his first of the day three and a half minutes later to make it 4-1 after two.
A Tanner Mayne man advantage effort 3:28 into the final period upped the Soo cushion before Matthew Reynolds brought Espanola closer at 8:34.
The home side then put the game away when Calisti notched his club’s fourth special teams’ marker of the contest as he picked up another shorthanded tally before Tristan Cicchello finished off the scoring in the late going to complete the Thunderbirds’ sixth consecutive victory.
Steven Bellini and Camaryn Baber aided the winners’ offensive cause with two assists each.
Eric Schuch made 19 stops to pick-up the Soo’s 20th triumph of the season with Adam Scott facing 37 shots in defeat for the Express.
Photos courtesy of James Egan’s Sports Photography