Photos: Jeremy Seguin
FRENCH RIVER – The Soo Thunderbirds saw Daniel Beaupre score twice, while Landon Miller posted his first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League shutout Saturday night in a 6-0 victory over the French River Rapids at Noelville Arena.
Sault Ste. Marie got the game’s first goal, 11:13 into the match-up, as Brock Santa Maria won a puck battle and fed Jackson Truchan in front who made a quick move to his right and lifted in his 10th tally of the season over the pad of French River starter Brady Dyer.
Building on that, the Thunderbirds tacked on two more markers late in the frame to take 3-0 lead after one period of play.
Beaupre began the outburst at 18:02 as he whipped one off the crossbar and in from between the hashmarks just as a French River penalty had expired.
The Soo’s Wyatt Marlow then connected with a dozen seconds left in the frame thanks to a faceoff win by Santa Maria that allowed him to snap one in from a similar area on the ice as Beaupre’s effort.
In the middle stanza, a fourth Thunderbirds’ goal came after a Kolby Fellinger shot from up high was stopped, but Dyer could not control the rebound, which allowed Beaupre to put one upstairs from the top of the crease.
Extending their cushion, Brodie McConnell-Barker made it 5-0 as he drove to the net with a couple of crafty moves while skating in from the point and snapped in a quick shot from close range.
That resulted in French River making a goaltending change and saw back-up Ben Gustafson enter the contest for the home side.
The T-Birds kept coming however and went by six thanks to Mitchell Daines supplying his initial league tally as he put one into the top right-hand corner with help from Ryan Blackburn and Beaupre.
That proved to be the evening’s final marker as a scoreless final frame was more than enough for the Soo to skate away with the win.
For Miller, the triumph was his seventh straight as the Thunderbirds’ rookie netminder also raised his overall record to 8-0-0-1 on the season.