T-Birds invade the Eagles nest

January 23, 2016

The eighth installment of the 2015-2016 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League “border battle” is slated for tonight when the Soo Eagles play host to the Soo Thunderbirds.

Game time is 7 p.m. at venerable Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo.

In seven previous meetings between the Twin Soo teams, the league-leading Thunderbirds are 7-0 against the Eagles, who are a first-year NOJHL team. The teams have more five regular-season games against each other, including tonight’s match.

The Thunderbirds lead the West Division and the overall NOJHL standings with 69 points from a record of 34-3-1.

The Eagles are fourth in the West and eighth overall with 33 points from a record of 16-20-1.

Playing better of late, the Eagles have won four of their last five games, two of which have come against the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, who are 14 points ahead of the Michiganders in the standings.

Individually, 1997 birth-year forward Matt Caruso leads the Thunderbirds in scoring with 20 goals, 27 assists, 47 points. 1996 birth-year forward Jaren Bellini has also hit the 20-goal mark for the T-Birds.

Of note, 1999 birth-year forward Mark Tassone — who is the youngest player on the T-Birds and one of the youngest in the 12-team NOJHL — has 10 goals, 18 assists, 28 points in 36 games and has been the subject of inquiry from at least two Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association schools.

Over in the Eagles nest, forwards Nate Harris and Evan Ketner are 1-2 in team scoring with 31 and 30 points, respectively.

Then there is 1996 birth-year forward Gord Helmuth, a former Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Soo Greyhounds who has 10 goals, 11 assists, 21 points in just 19 games since joining the Eagles earlier in the season.

Defenseman Zack Parrott has also stood out since joining the Eagles 16 games ago. The hard-hitting Parrott, who has a 1997 birth date, has 2 goals, 10 assists, 12 points in his 16 outings with the Eagles.

And Canadian Soo product Jake Palmerio has been a steady performer for the Eagles. A 1997 birth-year forward, Palmerio has 9 goals in 31 games.

What you think about “T-Birds invade the Eagles nest”

  1. The Eagles have really improved as of late. Should be a good game tonight although officiating is horrible across the board especially in Soo Michigan. Some good players to watch out there and yes the young players are a treat. Hope to see a good game tonight and the officials call a good clean game.

    Good read RR

  2. It’s been pretty quiet on the Rock front, so here we go: it’s rather apparent after the back to back losses this weekend that the GM of the Rock failed to address the deficiencies on this team prior to the deadline. One good pick up on the front end clearly did not address the issues on the back end. Top 6 forwards are on on par with all top teams. After that it is troublesome. Trying to play with 3 lines every night and dressing 7 D to have a grocery stick is nothing less than a joke. The recruiting must be an issue as you would think that the second most populous city in the league wouldn’t able to draw players here – so what’s the problem? Definitely a better job being done in KL and Cochrane. Time for changes with this franchise., and relocation doesn’t count.

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