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Thunderbirds tame Canadians

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Matthew Bazarin tallied twice and added an assist to help propel the Soo Thunderbirds to a 5-2 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians Thursday night at Chelmsford Arena.

Seeing their first league action since Oct. 14 and on a modest two-game losing streak, Sault Ste. Marie got back on the right track on this night quickly as Barazin notched his initial NOJHL goal 3:40 into the first period.

Going to the power play later in the frame, Lucas Theriault added to the Thunderbirds’ lead just over 14 minutes after that as he picked up his team-leading 11th marker of the campaign.

The Soo extended their cushion just 33 seconds into the middle stanza compliments of Avery Rebek, who scored for a fourth time this season, as his effort proved to be the eventual game-winner.

Bazarin then bagged another early in the final session as the Thunderbirds made it 4-0 at 2:10 on another man advantage while Nick Smith supplied his club’s third power play goal of the evening 11 and a half minutes into the third to put the visitors up by five.

Up a skater themselves, Rayside-Balfour dashed Soo starter Colin Ahern’s shutout bid at 12:16 when Evan Krassey collected his sixth of the season.

Jett Leishman then picked up his fourth of the campaign for the Canadians in the late going to round out the night’s scoring.

Steven Bellini dished out two assists for the 11-3-0-0 Thunderbirds in the triumph while Ahern earned the win in net for the Thunderbirds making 36 saves along the way helping them move into a three-way tie for top spot in the NOJHL West Division standings with both Blind River and Rayside-Balfour, while also holding multiple games in hand on both clubs.

David Bowen faced 39 attempts in defeat for the 10-8-1-1 Canadians.