by Matt Stefano
After blanking the Blind River Beavers by a score of 7-0 last Saturday in their season opening game in Blind River, the Soo Thunderbirds were on John Rhodes ice on Friday night for their home opener against the very same team.
Despite outshooting the Beavers 38-22 overall on Friday night, the Thunderbirds dropped their home opening game of the season by a score of 2-1.
“Blind River played a really good game. They protected their zone really well and their goaltender made some really good saves. I thought for the most part they were the better team. The shot clock may not have shown that, but our goalie Metivier had to make some big saves for us to give us a chance to win this game. Overall, it’s disappointing when you lose, but there’s still lots to learn,” said Soo Thunderbirds head coach Cole Jarrett.
On Friday night, Thunderbirds rookie forward Sam Lake opened the scoring with his first NOJHL tally at the 9:24 mark of the first period, giving the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead.
Rookie forwards Colby Arbour and Kenny Belanger Jr. drew the assists on Lake’s goal.
“I thought Sammy was good,” Jarrett said. “He plays with a lot of energy and has a positive attitude on the bench. I like his game, but he’s only going to get better.”
With the Thunderbirds leading 1-0 late in the third, it would then be Beavers forward Jesse Dupuis getting his first tally of the season on the power play with 2:06 to go in the first, which tied the game at one heading into the second.
Beavers blueliners Jackson Barnes and Chase Heckerson drew the assists on the goal by Dupuis.
A late goal by Caleb Minns from Ryan Doucette with just 3:48 to go in the third, gave the Beavers their first and only lead of the game.
Thunderbirds rookie netminder Noah Metivier made 20 saves in the loss while Beavers goaltender Jeremi Delaquis stopped 37 shots for the victory.
Metivier, who got his first start in net for the Thunderbirds on Friday night, was also named the second star of the game.
“Metivier had a good game,” Jarrett said. “He’s a very capable goaltender and he proved it tonight.”
The Thunderbirds will now be back in action on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., when they take on the Sudbury Cubs in their first ever visit to the John Rhodes.
Friday night’s game at the John Rhodes between the Thunderbirds and Beavers also marked the final game for referee Darren Corcoran.
Corcoran, who retired following Friday nights game, worked as a linesman in hockey since 2007 and as a referee since 2010.