Take into account that they still have room on the roster for three more players and it was a decent start to the 2018-2019 regular season for the Soo Major Midget Thunderbirds.
In their first action of the new season, the Soo major midgets split of pair of games with the visiting Timmins Majors on the weekend. Timmins had the advantage of having played three games in a pre-season tournament but the two teams played the Great North opening weekend series about even.
It certainly helped the Soo major midgets that rookie goalie Noah Zeppa was simply superb in the season opener that the Thunderbirds won by a 4-1 margin that included two empty net goals.
But there were other good signs from a Thunderbirds major midget squad that was scrambling to sign players just a few days before the start of the 2018-2019 season.
Small but skilled forward Nick Jameus is a keeper as are the likes of fellow front liners Michael Chaffay, Nick Niro, Kurtis Rogers and Brock Santa Maria. And as he did last season with the Soo Minor Midget Thunderbirds, Zeppa is a goalie who is going to give his team a chance to win every time he steps between the pipes.
Bypassed at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft, apparently because he lacks in height, Zeppa has the ability and character to overcome the snub.
Indeed, as Timmins head coach Brandon Perry said to me about Zeppa after last weekend’s season opener: “Zeppa is a stud. He wins games on his own. He should have been drafted by some OHL team.”
At any rate, the Thunderbirds won one and lost one to begin the new season in the Great North. And as there is some promise on the Soo squad, so too does a few Timmins have tools to build around as it showed in a 5-2 victory in Game 2 of the season.
Not to say that either team looks to be any sort of a power house this season. But there is a hint of potential on both sides and from a Sault Ste. Marie end, it was nice to see what has been a maligned program over the past few years be able to show signs of being an okay team.