Thunderbirds hand Cubs their first ever shutout loss

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(Photo of Noah Metivier credit to Matt Stefano

For the first time in franchise history, the Greater Sudbury Cubs fans had nothing to cheer about the whole game.

And the Soo Thunderbirds were the reason why!

On Sunday night, the Soo Thunderbirds handed the Greater Sudbury Cubs their first shutout loss in franchise history as they blanked them by a score of 1-0 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Sudbury.

“Our goaltending was outstanding tonight,” said Soo Thunderbirds assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson. “Unfortunately our starter Noah Zeppa had to leave the game tonight after the second period, but then Noah Metivier did a great job the rest of the way replacing Zeppa in the third period.”

After skating scoreless through two periods of play, the Thunderbirds then got a power play goal from their captain Brock Santa Maria at the 6:32 mark of the third period, which proved to be the game-winner.

Thunderbirds rookie forward Cooper Foster had the only assist on Santa Maria’s tally.

“I got a nice pass and seen an opening at the top of the net,” said Thunderbirds captain Brock Santa Maria. “Once it went in, I felt relieved to give our team the lead and eventually the 2 points.”

Sunday night’s game in Sudbury was also a game that saw very few shots on goal by both teams.

Greater Sudbury finished the game with only 20 shots on net while the Soo finished off with 19.

“Part of it had to do with the olympic sized ice at the Gerry McCrory Complex,” Henderson said. “We played a tight checking game on a bigger ice surface tonight, but we still ended up getting the victory.”

The Thunderbirds, who went 1 for 6 on the power play on Sunday night, also went a perfect 6 for 6 on their penalty kill.

“Anytime you kill off six penalties in a game, it builds the guys confidence,” Henderson said. “There were a few penalties we wish we didn’t take, but guys like Fellinger and Trottier were warriors tonight on our PK.”

Cubs netminder Joel Rainville gave up 1 goal on 19 shots in the loss.

Thunderbirds netminder Noah Zeppa made 11 saves through two periods of play, before being replaced in net by Noah Metivier, who made 9 saves the rest of the way.

The Thunderbirds will now face the Greater Sudbury Cubs once again this Friday at the John Rhodes Community Centre, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

FACT

On Sunday night, goaltenders Noah Zeppa and Noah Metivier split time in net for the Thunderbirds 1-0 shutout win over Greater Sudbury.

DID YOU KNOW?

The last time the Thunderbirds had two goalies who shared a shutout in one game, was back on January 11, 2018, when the Thunderbirds blanked the Timmins Rock 5-0 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

During that game, goaltender Eric Schuch stopped all 13 shots directed his way, before being replaced in net by Brandon Gordon, who then stopped 9 out of 9 shots the rest of the way.

OTHER NOTE

Prior to Sunday’s road game in Sudbury, the Thunderbirds were supposed to play a road game on Saturday night against the Soo Eagles at Rankin Arena.

Saturday night’s game against the Soo Eagles ended up being postponed due to the fact that no ice was available for the Eagles in Sault, Ontario and Canadian teams cannot cross the border to Sault, Michigan until next month.