GALLERY: Thunderbirds soar over Beavers

BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Goaltender Noah Zeppa turned aside all 17 shots he faced in his Soo Thunderbirds debut while teammate Tyson Doucette had a hat trick to help backstop their club to a 7-0 triumph over the Blind River Beavers Saturday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at the Blind River Community Centre.

The Thunderbirds, under new ownership and a different coaching staff, were quick to strike as Doucette forced a turnover in Blind River territory then provided a solid individual effort as he drove toward the net and snapped a quick shot over Blind River goaltender Gavin Disano just 44 seconds into the contest, in what proved to be the game-winner.

Going to the power play halfway through the first period, Sault Ste. Marie added to their lead when Connor Healy cranked a one-timer from the right point that resulted in his initial NOJHL tally.

A third Soo marker came in the second period compliments of Doucette at 15:50 as his first multi-goal game in NOJHL play put the guests up by three through 40 minutes of action.

Moving to the final frame, the T-Birds tacked on another 1:48 in as Brock Santa Maria powered his way through a couple of Beavers’ defenders and snapped one in from the left faceoff circle.

Not done there, they capped off the one-sided result as Doucette, Ken Belanger and Christian Howanitz all found the back of the net to secure the road victory.

While Zeppa earned the win, Disano faced 38 attempts against in defeat.

The result also saw Cole Jarrett pick up the decision in his first game as the Thunderbirds new head coach.