Eagles nip Birds in Saturday sizzler

January 24, 2016

Fast-paced, high-energy, end-to-end, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League action was on full display on Saturday night at Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo.

Playing perhaps their most-complete game of the season, the Soo Eagles upset the no. 1 ranked Junior A team in Canada, edging the Soo Thunderbirds 2-1 in a thriller-of-a-match.

In front of close to 900 Twin Soo fans at the venerable Pullar, rookie goalies Cam Burggrabe of the Eagles and Brandon Gordon of the Thunderbirds put on a puck-stopping clinic that allowed only three goals amid multiple near-misses.

Burggrabe, who is part of a three-goalie rotation with the Eagles, made 35 saves and was at his best in the third period when the visiting Thunderbirds went all out to try to erase a 2-0 deficit.

Standing tall and looking cool and calm, Burggrabe — who has a future commitment to play for the Northern Michigan Wildcats of the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association — kept the high-scoring Thunderbirds off the scoresheet until defenseman Khadyn Butterfly found the back of the net just past the five-minute mark of the third period.

Forwards Roman Gaudet, with a second-period goal, and Brad Hofelich, who tallied early in the third, had staked the Eagles to a 2-0 lead.

As Burggrabe was a standout in the Eagles net, so too did fellow 1997 birth-year goalie Gordon play very well for the Thunderbirds with 26 saves, many of which were difficult stops.

The win by the Eagles was their first in eight tries against the Thunderbirds this season. The two teams still have four regular-season matches against each other.

A much-improved team of late, the Eagles have won five of their last six games to improve their record to 17-20-1 on the season.

With the loss, the league-leading Thunderbirds now have a record of 34-4-1.

At least two National Collegiate Athletic Association scouts took in the exciting, well-played, playoff-style match between the cross-border rivals that besides the goal-tenders and the goal-scorers, featured notable performances by forward Jake Palmerio and defenseman Zack Parrott of the Eagles and forwards Matt Caruso and Mark Tassone of the Thunderbirds.

What you think about “Eagles nip Birds in Saturday sizzler”

  1. Good Article by RR as you call it the way you see it.
    TBird Supporter: Are you kidding me? The refs were not a factor at all. Why can’t you give the Eagles credit for playing such a good game and for deserfing to win this particuler game??!!

  2. T -Bird supporter Shake your head your eyes are stuck,you couldn’t of been watching same game as I was, Refs missed calls on both sides, in fact if you look at replay of T-birds only goal, it was off sides by a foot. I think it’s SOUR GRAPES!

  3. TBirds play them 12 times, they lost one….big deal. Good to lose a game now and then and GOOD for the Eagles, shows their improving .

  4. Maybe its not a “Big Deal” to you SPANGLER but it was a great game last nite and if you were there seen it then youd know that its a “Big Deal” to the Eagles and there Fans.

  5. Coach Bruno has the Soo Eagles playing great Hockey. This hear Team is shown alot of improve-ment over the last 3 Weeks.
    This all starts with Good Coaching ..,, & Bruno and Joe B have the boys playing great Hockey. It was nice to see a good Crowd last nite with Fans from Canada that always make for a great Atmosphear.
    I look forreward to all of Randy’s Articles and it twas nice to see Randy at the Game .. & waring his “Tigers Jacket” LOVE IT!

  6. congrats to the Eagles on this win ! There is no disputing their improvement in recent months . Got a chance to watch the mighty Thunderbirds today against Espanola and I must say that I was surprised at the lack of discipline that the Thunderbirds showed , many penalties ( and many more that wernt called ) If the Express had been able to capitalize on these penalties , the Thunderbirds could have been in trouble . I’m thinking this is something that the coaching will need to get a handle on if the Thunderbirds want to get as far as predicted this season.

    1. Read the stats, the TBirds are 4th lowest in penalty minutes and the lowest incidence of discipline in the league at 1. If you think they got a problem the rest of the teams are in real trouble.

      1. Easy there Spangler….. I’m simply referring to the game that I watched in Espanola on Sunday. I don’t think anybody that watched that game would think that the Thunderbirds showed discipline in the third period. In fact, I watched the game again last night on fasthockey and stand by my original comment. I’m also not concerned with the other teams in the NOJHL , I was referring to post playoff play moving towards the Dudley and RBC, that sort of play will get them in trouble…that’s all I’m saying.

  7. I have mentioned this before and will say it again. The officiating is horrible across the league but the officiating in Soo Michigan has been and will always be bad until the league does something about it. They are terrible!! The Eagles won that game no question but the officiating was sickening. Stick work, hooking, tripping, hitting from behind like it was just part of the game was disgusting to watch. Once again nobody will care nor do anything about it. Carry on!

  8. It was even worse last Wednesday at the Puller! Guys from RBC were injured and no calls! It was terrrible reffing. Awful. Score would have been different

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