By Matt Stefano
After grabbing a big 4-0 victory in Kirkland Lake one night ago and scoring all four goals on goaltender Josh Erickson, who was named the NOJHL’s Gongshow Gear player of the month for January, the Soo Thunderbirds were up for another tough test Saturday at the Tim Horton’s Event Centre to take on the league’s top scorer Cody Gratton and the Cochrane Crunch. Gratton, who notched his 50th goal of the season last night against Mattawa, became the first NOJHL player to hit 50 goals in a season since Jordan Carroll (Sudbury Cubs) back in the 2011-2012 season.
The T-Birds got on the board first just 4:17 in as Nick Tassone scored his twenty sixth from Anthony Miller and Devin Shell. Anthony Miller’s nineteenth from Nick Tassone put the Soo up 2-0 just 3:10 later. Tassone’s assist on Miller’s goal also gave him one hundred career points in a Soo Thunderbirds uniform.
With the Soo leading 2-0 after one, it would be Dustin Cordeiro cutting the lead to one, with his thirty eighth, unassisted just 1:26 in.
The Soo led 2-1 after two periods until Dustin Cordeiro’s second of the night and thirty ninth of the season from Henry Berger, tied things up at two at the 10:19 mark. The tie did not last long though, as Jaren Bellini notched his twenty second goal just thirty two ticks later from Boris Katchouk and Nick Sicoly. Jaren Bellini’s second of the night and twenty third of the season from Boris Katchouk and Nick Sicoly once again, gave the Soo a 4-2 lead at 17:57. Matt Caurso’s eleventh with just fifty five seconds to play, from Caleb Boman and Brian Kment rounded out the scoring as the T-Birds go on to their thirtieth victory of the season with a 5-2 victory over the Cochrane Crunch. It was an answer back score after dropping to the Crunch 5-2 back on January 29th at the John Rhodes. The Thunderbirds tied the regular season series vs Cochrane with two wins and two losses while out scoring them 13-10 through four meetings.
Brian Kment picked up his fourteenth win of the season making thirty stops.
Note: Brian Kment’s younger brother Jake Kment picked up his first career Ontario Hockey League victory tonight with the North Bay Battalion, making twenty one saves in a 3-2 sudden death shootout win over the Belleville Bulls. The 2012 6th round pick (117th overall) by the Brampton Battalion was also called up for one game for the Thunderbirds during the 2012-2013 season.
The T-Birds will close out their three game road trip Sunday afternoon in Iroquois Falls against the Abitibi Eskimos. Game time is 2:00 from the Jus Jordan Arena.