The Soo Thunderbirds dropped their semi-final matchup to the Penticton Vees by a score of 3-0. John Kleinhans stood tall once again for the Thunderbirds stopping a total of 30 shots and keeping the game close. The Thunderbirds trailed the Penticton Vees 1-0 until 6 minutes into the third period when Logan Johnston scored on the power play making it 2-0 Penticton. Kleinhans made 3 or 4 game saving stops in third period but with 1:30 left in the third an empty net goal put the game away for Penticton.
Although the Thunderbirds lost out in the semis at this yearsí RBC Cup there are many positives to be taken away not just from this tournament but also the season.
The Soo Thunderbirds roster consists of 18 local boys, which was the most of any roster at the RBC Cup. This shows the hockey talent that the Sault has, and now all of Canada is aware of this talent as well.
While at the RBC Cup three of the tournament awards went to players on the Thunderbirds. John Kleinhans won the Tournament MVP and was also named the Tournaments Top Goaltender, while Micky Sartoretto won the Most Sportsmanlike award.
On their off day at the RBC Cup the team arranged to go into a local public school, where they read, talked and played floor hockey with the students. This shows off the great leadership skills in the group, as they gave back to the community that took them in during the 9-day tournament.
The Thunderbirds were also the first NOJHL team to make the semi-finals of the RBC Cup since 2002. The Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats were the last team to achieve this feat.
Letís not forget that this is the first time in franchise history that the Thunderbirds won the Dudley Hewitt Cup, despite being the underdogs. They achieved this by winning the NOJHL championship and eventually knocking off the favourited Stoufville Spirit in the finals.
The Sault should be proud of this group of kids for everything they accomplished this year. The positives of the year highly outweigh the negatives and overall it was a successful season and this team represented Sault Ste, Marie very well.
Congratulations Thunderbirds, you should be very proud of what you accomplished.