By Matt Stefano
Two sides of the border!
Saturday night hockey takes place tonight at the John Rhodes Community Centre as the Soo Thunderbirds take on their cross border rivals, the Soo Eagles at 7:00 p.m.
This will mark the fifth meeting between these two clubs.
The Thunderbirds enter tonight’s game sitting in fourth place in the NOJHL’s West Division, with a record of 16 wins, 12 losses, 1 overtime loss and 3 shootout loss, good for 36 points.
They are also just one point behind the Eagles for third place in the NOJHL’s West Division.
HEAD TO HEAD
In four meetings so far this season, the Thunderbirds have defeated them twice and have lost to them in a shootout twice.
Through those four meetings, the Thunderbirds have outscored the Eagles 15-11.
Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith had led the way offensively against the Eagles so far this season, scoring twice and setting up four others.
DUNBAR GETTING IT DONE
It’s been a great season thus far for Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Tyler Dunbar.
Dunbar, who is a 2019 3rd round pick of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, currently leads all NOJHL rookie defensemen in scoring this season with 5 goals and 23 points in 32 games.
He also leads the NOJHL in shorthanded assists with 3.
When it comes to playing shorthanded, Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith has had no problems putting the puck in the net.
The 20 year old forward currently leads the NOJHL in shorthanded goals with 4.
EAGLES ON THE PENALTY KILL
Heading into tonight’s game, the Eagles have the league’s best penalty kill (89.9%) and have the best penalty kill on the road, coming in at (89.5%).
YOUNG THE YOUNG GUN
He’s currently in his rookie season with the Thunderbirds, but he’s also putting up some big numbers when it comes to assists.
Rookie defenceman Warner Young currently leads all NOJHL rookies in assists with 19.
90 FOR SMITTY
On Sunday, December 1st in a road game against Rayside Balfour, Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith scored his 90th career goal, becoming just the second player in Thunderbirds history to score 90 career goals, joining Nick Minardi (2004-2009), who had 92.
ATTENTION NICK, WATCH OUT FOR NICK!
Thunderbirds co-captain Nick Smith, who currently has 90 career goals, is just two goals away from tying Nick Minardi (2004-2009) for the team record for most career goals.
(Photo by Bob Davies)