Birds show bad side in latest win

October 4, 2015

Let’s begin by stating that the Soo Thunderbirds were easily the better team in scoring a 4-0 win over the shorthanded Soo Eagles on Saturday.

Simply put, the injury-riddled Eagles were no match for the Thunderbirds, who improved their record to 9-1 atop the West Division of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with the home-ice victory.

But it’s the manner in which the last few minutes of the game was played that produced points to ponder.

Leading by the 4-0 score and with 5:45 to play in the third period, Thunderbirds winger Matt Mitchell and Eagles front-liner Kendall Huckins got into a bit of a scuffle that resulted in minor penalties for both players.

While seated in the penalty box, Mitchell had plenty to say to Huckins and at one point, stood up and made a motion towards the Eagles player.

Nothing further developed and both players vacated the penalty box with 3:45 to play and headed to their respective players bench.

On the next shift, Mitchell headed back on to the ice and attempted to instigate an altercation with another Eagles player but to no avail.

Twice more, Mitchell returned to the ice in the final two minutes and tried to start something with an Eagles player only to have both skate away.

I am not sure why Mitchell was so intent on trying to stir up what had been such a tame game with only seven minor penalties called prior to his tussle with Huckins.

And I am not sure why Thunderbirds head coach Jordan Smith continued to send Mitchell out on to the ice when it was rather obvious what the third-year player was trying to do despite the fact that his team had the 4-0 win in the bag.

What I am fairly sure of is that NOJHL commissioner Robert Mazzuca — who was seated beside me at the game — was not impressed.

The way I see it, there is a way to win and there is a way to act when you win.

I am not sure what Smith and the 6-foot, 235-pound, 20-year old Mitchell were trying to prove in the late stages of a certain victory over a rookie-laden Eagles team that was minus four regulars due to injury, including rugged captain Jake Hernandez.

To me, all that Smith and Mitchell succeeded in doing was to put themselves on the radar of Mazzuca, the no-nonsense commissioner who is on an ongoing mission to reduce stupidity and eliminate bullying from within the NOJHL.

As for the game itself, the Thunderbirds were in full control from the opening faceoff and out-shot the visiting Eagles 40-19 in cruising to their fourth victory in as many starts over their cross-border rivals.

Rookie forward Drake Pilon scored a pair of goals and his twin brother Darian Pilon had a pair of assists in support of the 19-save effort of goalie Brandon Gordon, who was not tested with any severity by the Eagles, who do not have a single player who had NOJHL experience before this season.

The loss for the Eagles dropped their record to 1-6-1 and was their fourth straight setback, during which they have managed to score only two goals.

PHOTO: 20-year old forward Matt Mitchell is in his third NOJHL season with the Soo Thunderbirds.

What you think about “Birds show bad side in latest win”

  1. Have to agree with Randy on this even tho I am a Thunderbirds Fan the Thunderbirds should of just finished the Game and gone Home. Smitty needs to show better judge ment as the Adult here. On another Note can the Thunderbirds kindley move there games to the Rhodes or to the Rankin??!!??!! No atmospheer what so over in the Esser with 4500 Empty Seats.

  2. RR: The NOJHL is becomming a pussy League and you are not helping matters with an Article like this.

  3. Must have been a home game and the kid likey had friends in the stands and was trying to put on a show. Im glad Mr Mazzuca was there to see it. Total lack of class by the player, and even more so by the coach. Way to call a spade, a spade R.R. , cheers my friend!!!

  4. Oh ya # 18 for the Birds (Mitchel) is reel brave acting like a tuff guy knowing that the Eagles are short player’s and that Hernandes aint playing cause hes hurt. No body over there evan cares about that team 200 Fans in there Barn and probly about 50 of them that went over there from Sault Michigan.

  5. Sometimes the actions you see in a game are as a result of actions from a previous encounter. The T-Birds PIM average is 9.3 while the Eagles are 12.3.

    Maybe an interview with Coach Smith would give a balanced view. IMHO.

  6. First of all, the Eagles are thus the dirtiest team in the league (in my opinion) so please don’t talk about the TBirds bullying. #4 on the Eagles was running around cross checking everybody the whole weekend. I agree there was little class shown by the TBirds acting the way they did but at the same time Eagles organization rarely shows any class (in my opinion.) Try playing hockey and you may see better results!!!!

  7. Come on Randy … hockey is a tough sport and Fighting/Intimidation is a part of the game. Jordan Smith is a good Coach and Matt Mitchell plays a roll on the Team that includes being the enforcer. This is not your Girls Basketball Team at the old Bawating Randy … this is Junior “A” Hockey!!!

  8. Its an opinion column that RR writes here. Im not saying that I agree with him allof the time however its his opinion and like all of us he is intitled to his whether you like it or not.

  9. Nothing wrong with that situation at all. You cant make the type of gesture with kids around expect not to pay for it. Mitchell didn’t do anything wrong, if he would have jumped him maybe the league could have suspended him. But if the eagles player maned up and dropped the gloves like he should have there should be nothing besides a misconduct for fighting with under 5 minutes to go!!

  10. And I really like your great coverage on local junior hockey always have.. But that situation makes the eagles player look bad that is all.

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