By Matt Stefano
Game one of the COVID Cup series is officially in the books!
On Sunday afternoon, Cameron Dutkiewicz scored two power play goals and added a pair of assists to help lead the Soo Thunderbirds to an 8-4 victory over the Blind River Beavers in game one of the COVID Cup series at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Soo also went 5 for 10 on the man advantage while going a perfect 7 for 7 on the penalty kill.
“We moved the puck around well today and worked hard on the penalty kill and it was a great all around team effort,” said Thunderbirds defenceman Cameron Dutkiewicz.
Dutkiewicz, who entered Sunday afternoon’s game with the most goals and power play tallies among NOJHL defencemen, also gave himself his first career two-goal and four-point game.
“Whenever the time is right, I just try to make the right play and shoot the puck when it needs to be shot,” said Dutkiewicz.
Dutkiewicz, who was acquired in a trade from the CCHL2’s Renfrew Timberwolves back on September 16, has now given himself 7 goals and 12 assists in 15 games played with the Thunderbirds.
“Everything has been great and we’re always busy coming to the rink to get our workout in. My season is going great here in the Soo and there’s never a dull moment with the guys,” said Dutkiewicz.
On Sunday afternoon, the Thunderbirds also saw a great performance from forward Parker Morgan.
Morgan finished the afternoon with two goals, including a shorthanded goal and a power play tally.
He also became the first Thunderbird to score a shorthanded goal and a power play tally in the same game since Zach Senecal did back on September 16, 2016.
“Morgan worked really well today. He deserved to get both of those goals and he’s one of the hardest workers on the team,” said Dutkiewicz.
On Sunday afternoon, Thunderbirds forward Caleb Wood also had a multi point game with a power play goal and an assist while captain Avery Rebek also got on the scoresheet with a goal and an assist of his own.
Forwards Cooper Smyl (power play) and Noah Boman had the other goals for the Soo.
Thunderbirds rookie forward Michael Chaffay had a big afternoon offensively, setting up four goals for his first career four-point game, while Brock Santa Maria and Jacob Doucette chipped in with two assists each.
Thunderbird blueliners Kaden Dundas and Dylan Paraons also got on the scoresheet with one assist each.
Beavers forward Thomas Michaud scored a pair of goals, giving him his second straight two-goal game, while Milos Todorovic and Lucas Adams also got on the scoresheet with one goal each.
Blake McNally, Dre Leismeister, Devin Mauro, Joshua Maine and Jacob Kelly all chipped in with one assist each for Blind River.
Beavers goaltender Gavin Disano gave up 8 goals on 40 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Alex Bugeja made 37 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds will now play game two of this seven-game series on Thursday night at the John Rhodes Community Centre, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
“We need to come back even harder and not let up on them because they’ll come back harder for sure,” said Dutkiewicz.