Thunderbirds winning streak hits 18 games

The Soo Thunderbirds wrapped up regular season play in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League on Saturday night by extending what is already a lengthy winning streak.

The Thunderbirds skated to a 2-0 win over the Cochrane Crunch at the Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane, extending their winning streak to 18 games in the process.

The team hasn’t lost a game since dropping a 4-0 decision on home ice to the Powassan Voodoos on Feb. 5 and has gone 19-1 since the NOJHL returned to play in early-February after being shut down after Christmas due to COVID-19 protocols in the north.

After a scoreless opening period that saw the Thunderbirds outshoot the Crunch by a 28-5 margin, Andrew Gibson opened the scoring for the visitors moments after Sault netminder Noah Metivier stopped Collin Lapointe on a breakaway at the other end.

At 3:23 of the middle period, Gibson took a pass from Ethan Novello near the blueline and then skated into the slot before beating Cochrane goaltender Michael Nickolau stick side to make it 1-0 Thunderbirds.

Midway through the third period Colby Arbour would make it 2-0 Thunderbirds when he beat Nickolau high stick side from the right faceoff circle.

Russell Oldham assisted on both Thunderbirds goals in the victory while Metivier made 23 saves to pick up the shutout.

Nickolau stopped 55 shots in the loss for the Crunch.

With the win, the Thunderbirds cap the NOJHL regular season off with a league-best record of 38-5-2-3.

Cochrane, losers of 37 straight games, finishes the regular season with a record of 2-43-1-2.

The Thunderbirds return to action when the open their NOJHL West Division semifinal series against the winner of the opening-round series between the Blind River Beavers and Elliot Lake Red Wings, which begins on Monday night in Blind River.

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