SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Lucas Theriault picked up his first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League hat trick and added an assist for his third four-point game of the season as the Soo Thunderbirds stayed unbeaten with a 5-1 victory over the Espanola Express Saturday at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Surging Sault Ste. Marie opened the scoring 13:19 into the first period thanks to Theriault who supplied his seventh of the campaign and ran a modest point streak to three consecutive outings.
Theriault and the Thunderbirds kept coming and tacked on two more just over five minutes into the middle stanza as he connected 20 seconds into the session then capped off his three-tally night during a man advantage opportunity as he moved to a co-league-best nine goals on the season.
Picking up a power play themselves in the latter stages of the stanza, Espanola got themselves on the board at 16:47 when Bret McInall notched his third of the campaign.
The Soo put the game away in the final frame however as Ryan Lawrence and Nick Smith both found out the back of the net in the third.
Smith, Steven Bellini and Noah Boman all dished out two assists each for the Thunderbirds in the victory.
Soo starter William Anderson made 19 stops to help his side improve to 8-0 on the year while Joel Rainville was peppered with 54 shots against in a losing cause for the Express.
Game Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin – SSM Photos