In their third meeting of the 2017 – 2018 season, the Soo Thunderbirds hit the ice at the 2017 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase against the Cochrane Crunch in Sudbury, Ontario on October 11th. The Thunderbirds hold a 2 – 0 record over the Crunch with the latest win coming on October 8th in Sault Ste Marie with a score of 4 – 2 at the John Rhodes Centre.
Thunderbird Alex Acosta sinks his fourth of the season with the Soo’s first goal of the game 2:22 into the opening period to give the NOJHL league leaders a 1 – 0 lead with Nick Smith and Noah Solinger adding the contributors on Acosta’s power play goal. Veteran Nick Smith finds the back of the Crunch net 36 seconds past the halfway mark of the first on a Thunderbird power play with Kaidan McDonald drawing the helper on Smith’s eighth of the season.
At 13:59 of the middle stanza, Smith scores his second of the game to give the Soo a 3 – 0 win with McDonald and Solinger drawing the assists on Smith’s goal. Thunderbird goaltender Eric Schuch earned his second shutout of the 2017 – 2018 regular season with stopping 32 of 32 shots in the Soo’s tenth win of the season.
Well again today was not for lack of effort we got out played for first ten minutes of the game and the last fifty of them, we out played the Thunderbirds. We had more puck possession and chances in the house but we couldn’t bury the puck. We will be fine, I still think we are one of the top teams in the league. We are just having trouble finding the back of the opponents net” said Crunch coach Ryan Leonard.
Thunderbird Eric Schuch told Saultsports that “again the guys did a great job clearing out rebounds and keeping shots to the outside. It was nice to get that win to make us 2-0 in the Showcase and getting a big four points. I think to keep the momentum going into Blind River we just have to stick to our system and play smart and hard.”
The Thunderbirds will return to action on October 14th when the Soo heads back out on the road to meet the Beavers in Blind River for a 7:30 p.m NOJHL puck drop.