NOJHL: 22 straight for Soo T-Birds

February 2, 2014

The last time Soo Thunderbirds lost a Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League game was back on November 10.

Since then, the Thunderbirds have reeled off 22 straight victories.

Not that the 22 successive wins has been a glide around the rink for the Thunderbirds.

Of the 22 triumphs, the Thunderbirds have won five by one goal and four others by two goals.

To be sure, the Thunderbirds latest win did not come easy.

Playing on the home ice of the Essar Centre on Saturday night, the Thunderbirds needed a third-period shorthanded goal by captain Gavin Burbach to edge the Elliot Lake Bobcats 3-2.

The Thunderbirds who trailed 2-0 at one point, were outshot 38-20 by the visiting Bobcats.

With 12 games to play in the 2013-2014 regular-season schedule, the Thunderbirds have 82 points from a record of 40-4-2, though they still have not clinched first place.

In the rear-view mirror of the Thunderbirds are the runner-up Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

The Miners have 71 points from a record of 34-6-3 and have three games in hand on the Thunderbirds.

“They aren’t going away,” veteran Thunderbird left winger Grant Syrette said of Kirkland Lake. “If we want first place, we can’t afford to let up.”


Wednesday’s Thunderbird-Elliot Lake game will be played at Rankin Arena on Batchawana First Nation.

The game was originally slated for Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake but the Bobcats asked for, and were granted permission, to hold the match at Rankin Arena.

So while it’s technically an away game for the Soo, the Thunderbirds won’t have to leave home to play Elliot Lake.

Game time is 7 p.m. at the Rankin.

The Rankin, by the way, used to serve as the Thunderbirds home rink back in the late 1970s when the Soo was a part of the erstwhile International Jr. Hockey League.


Blind River Beavers are at the bottom of the NOJHL standings with a mere 18 points from a record of 7-34-4.

But the Beavers are 2-0-1 in their last three games and of particular note, have been getting standout goaltending from 1993 birth-year puckstopper Dylan Knox.

PHOTO: Soo Thunderbirds forward Grant Syrette in action. (Photo by Ali Pearson.)

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