Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Noah Metivier handled every shot he faced to record his fifth Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League shutout of the season in backstopping his team at a 3-0 decision over the Soo Eagles in front of over 700 spectators at Pullar Stadium.
With the victory, the Thunderbirds won their 16th game in a row and now with 77 points on the campaign, have claimed the NOJHL’s regular season title for 2021-22, and secured the No. 1 overall seed heading into the upcoming league playoffs.
Action in the opening 20 minutes was tightly-contested, as is usually the case when these two rivals get together, with neither side managing to find the back of the net.
Breaking the scoreless tie in the second stanza was Colby Arbour at 1:46 of the session as the Thunderbirds broke out in transition and saw him snap a shot past Eagles’ netminder Gabe Rosek after darting down the left wing.
Carrying their one-goal lead into the third period, and after ringing three shots off the goal post throughout the night, the visitors added a second marker off a partial two-on-one as Dharen Cap powered his way down the right side boards, while bursting past an Eagles defender, and saucering a pass over to a streaking Samuel Lake, who lifted his 11th goal of the season over a diving Rosek just over three minutes in.
Then with Rosek out late for an extra attacker, the Thunderbirds wrapped up the road win as Kelsey Ouellet put one into the empty net in the final moments to put the finishing touches on the regular season title-winning victory.
They also improved to a NOJHL-best 36-5-2-3 on the year while the Eagles fell to 31-10-2-2 in defeat.