McDonald returns to help lead Thunderbirds past Voodoos

(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/ credit to Rod Aubertin/
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/

After opening up their two-game homestand with a 4-1 victory over the Espanola Express on Thursday night, the Soo Thunderbirds were back in action on Friday night as they took on the Powassan Voodoos, who made their first and only visit to the Soo this season.

The Thunderbirds, who entered Friday night’s game with twenty nine wins, became the first team in the NOJHL to hit the 30-win plateau this season as they defeated the Voodoos by a score of 5-2 at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

Powassan led 1-0 after the first and went up 2-0 early in the second, before the Thunderbirds scored five unanswered goals, including three in the second and two in the final frame.

“After their two goals, we just didn’t want to let it get to us,” said Thunderbirds captain Kaidan McDonald. “We knew we were the type of team that could come back from that and that’s nothing new for us.”

McDonald, who returned to the Thunderbirds lineup on Friday night after serving a 10-game suspension, led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds, scoring an empty net goal and adding an assist.

“It felt great,” continued McDonald. “It’s really good to be back with the boys and it was awesome for my first game back to get the win.”

Thunderbirds rookie netminder Colin Ahern was named first star of the game, making twenty five saves for the victory.

Ahern also picked up an assist on McDonald’s empty net goal at the 18:21 mark of the third period.

“Colin played unbelievable tonight,” concluded McDonald. “He made some big big saves and he always gets the boys fired up when he plays like that and it’s good to have him back there.”

Steven Bellini and Avery Rebek had a power play goal each for the Thunderbirds in the second period while Noah Boman scored the game winner.

Gage Stephney’s shorthanded goal at the 7:31 mark of the third, gave the Thunderbirds a 4-2 lead.

Spencer Van Tiem, Tristan Cicchello, Nick Smith, Ryan Lawrence and Matthew Bazarin all had one assist each for the Thunderbirds.

Clark Allair and Henry Scott had the goals for Powassan while Cade Herd, Seiji Martone and Gabby Kioki all chipped in with one assist each.

Voodoos goaltender Joe Vrbetic gave up four goals on twenty seven shots in the loss.

The Thunderbirds will now get set to take on the Espanola Express on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex in Espanola.


Friday night’s contest between the Thunderbirds and Voodoos, which was scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m., got pushed to 7:30 p.m. due to a highway closure that caused Powassan to arrive late in the Soo.


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Matt Stefano
Matt had graduated from Sault College in the General Arts and Sciences program in 2011 and has been working in the sports field ever since. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has worked as an Athletics Assistant in the Sault College Athletics Department during his final year of school in 2011. After graduating, Stefano worked for two years at the George Leach Centre from 2011-2013 for the Algoma University Thunderbirds Varsity Basketball Games as an Athletics Assistant. From 2013 on, Stefano has been working as the Soo Thunderbirds communications person and has also been volunteering with Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie since 2014, doing Soo Thunderbirds TV Segments.