Smith’s hat trick leads Thunderbirds to third straight win


After extending their winning streak to two games, thanks to a 4-1 victory over the Cochrane Crunch at the NOJHL Showcase in Soo Michigan back on Wednesday night, the Soo Thunderbirds took to the Soo Peewee ice for the first and only time this season on Friday night for a rematch against the Crunch.

The Thunderbirds extended their winning streak to three games for the first time this season on Friday night as they defeated the Cochrane Crunch by a score of 4-3 at the Soo Peewee Arena.

“I thought we battled hard tonight to get the two points,” said Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith. “We really didn’t know what to expect coming in here, because we never played at the Peewee before. The ice here is different, but it worked well for me tonight.”

Not only did the Thunderbirds extend their winning streak to three games for the first time this season, but they also improved their record to 7 wins, 7 losses, 1 overtime loss and 2 shootout losses, good for 17 points.

“We haven’t got on a roll yet this year, so hopefully we can keep this winning streak going and get a bunch more,” continued Smith.

Smith, who returned to the Thunderbirds lineup on Friday night after serving a four game suspension, led the way offensively with three goals, including two shorthanded tallies which came on a seven minute penalty kill.

“I wasn’t sure how we were going to kill off that seven minute penalty to us in the second period, but I just went out and got two goals on that penalty kill and then put the third one in at the start of the third and it was really nice to get that hat trick after coming back from that suspension,” concluded Smith.

Rookie forward Jake Kovacs had a power play for the Thunderbirds on Friday night while Tyler Dunbar, Avery Rebek and Tyler Savard had an assist each.

London, Ontario native Nick Grandy had a pair of goals for the Crunch, including one on the power play while Jacob Seyers also got on the scoresheet with one goal.

Stephen Minichiello, Owen Perala, Kobe Barrette and Hunter Buzzi all chipped in with one assist each for the Crunch.

Crunch netminder Cody Levesque gave up 4 goals on 34 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds rookie goaltender Dakota Meyer made 33 saves for the victory.

The Thunderbirds will now hit the road for one road game on Sunday night in Chelmsford to take on the Rayside Balfour Canadians.

Puck drop is 6:30 p.m. at Chelmsford Arena.

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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.