Coming off their season opener in Hearst with a 2 – 0 shutout loss to the Hearst Lumberjacks on the road on September 8th, the Soo Thunderbirds headed into Cochrane to face the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre 24 hours later in their second road game of the 2017 – 2018 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League season.
Brendan Miller sunk the first goal of the contest 12:57 into the opening period to give the Soo a 1 – 0 lead with Nicolas Case and Camaryn Baber adding the contributors on Miller’s first of the season. Austin Stauffer evens the game 1 – 1 on a Cochrane power play for the Crunch with a goal behind Thunderbird goaltender Eric Schuch at 4:29 of the middle stanza with a pass from Darian Harris. Alex Acosta fires a pass to defenceman Kelly Quevillon to give the Soo a 2 – 1 lead 12:34 into the period.
With an unassisted goal with 3:50 left in the second, Thunderbird Alex Decosta sinks the Soo’s third goal behind Cochrane netminder Taylor Unruh to bring the lead to 3 – 1. Connor Lovie and Austin Whelan draw the assists and close the gap to one for the Crunch with 57 seconds left in the game on a Kyle Podwika goal. Cochrane netminder Taylor Unruh turned away 22 of 25 shots while Eric Schuch stopped 42 of 44 shots for the Thunderbirds in the Soo’s first win of the season.
Crunch coach Ryan Leonard told Saultsports that “it was just one of thoughs games, we took four minor penalties in the first 14 minutes of the game and couldn’t get anything going. In the second and third period, we outshot the Thunderbirds by a big margin, but their young goalie out played ours as they only had four shots in second and one was a flutter from top of circle that handcuffed our goalie, Taylor Unruh that kind of took the wind out of our sails as we were in their end for almost the whole period.”
We will regroup as we know what we have and are very excited to get back out there” said Leonard.
The (1 – 1) Thunderbirds will round out their three game road trip in Timmins and the McIntyre Arena in a 3:00 p.m afternoon against the (1 – 1) Timmins Rock.