The Soo Thunderbirds couldn’t have asked for a better finish on Sunday afternoon!
After trailing the Greater Sudbury Cubs 4-1 midway through the third period, the Thunderbirds came back to score four unanswered goals in a span of 7:15 as they went on to defeat the Cubs by a score of 5-4 at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
Three of the goals in the third period also came off the stick of rookie forward Samuel Lake.
“It was a great hard played game,” said Thunderbirds rookie forward Samuel Lake. “We had a few guys that left the game due to injuries and we really just did it for them.”
In the third period, Lake scored three times, including once on the power play and the game-winner.
“It feels great to get that hat trick, but it was more so the feeling of putting us up in the game 5-4,” Lake said.
Lake, who scored three goals in the third period, became the first Thunderbird to score three goals in a third period since Owen Headrick did back on March 15, 2015.
“It’s an unreal feeling,” Lake said. “It was a great experience to do that, but there’s no better feeling in the world than putting your team up and getting those three goals in.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Thunderbirds also got three-point efforts from two other rookie forwards, including Colby Arbour and Kelsey Ouellet.
Arbour scored his first NOJHL goal and set up two others while Ouellet finished the afternoon with three assists.
“Arbs and Kelsey are huge team players,” Lake said. “They are great skaters and they both know how to move the puck very well.”
Sunday afternoon’s game was also a memorable game for Thunderbirds second-year defenceman Kaden Dundas, who notched his first NOJHL goal.
Dundas got his first career tally at the 2:53 mark of the second period, which at that time put the Thunderbirds up 1-0.
“It felt good to finally get that first goal out of the way, and hopefully there will be plenty more to come,” Dundas said.
This past summer, Dundas also attended Soo Greyhounds training camp as a free agent.
“Attending Greyhounds camp helped me because I got to be exposed to a higher and faster pace of the game, which ultimately made my decision making and timing better for the NOJHL,” Dundas said.
Forward Brock Santa Maria also got on the scoresheet for the Thunderbirds with two assists while blueliners Connor Healy and Zane Burleigh set up one goal each.
Cubs leading scorer Kyler Campbell had a big day offensively with a shorthanded goal and an assist while defenceman Graeme Siren also had a multi-point game with two helpers.
Cole Quevillon, Pineshish Whiteduck and Pierson Sobush had the other goals for the Cubs while Billy Biedermann, Jaxon Bedard, Nicholas Faught and Christopher Innes all chipped in with one assist each.
Cubs goaltender Joel Rainville gave up 5 goals on 35 shots in the loss while Thunderbirds netminder Noah Zeppa made 34 saves for the victory.
Next action for the Thunderbirds will be this Thursday at 7:30 p.m., when they visit Gerry McCrory Country Side Sports Complex in Sudbury for the second straight meeting against the Greater Sudbury Cubs.