After a four game winless streak, the Tillsonburg Thunder notched two points in a well-fought, much-deserved 5-3 win over the Petrolia Squires Saturday night at home.
“We’ve been on a four game losing streak, so it’s nice to get one in the W,” said Thunder forward Ryan Devos. “We’re probably going to end up playing Petrolia in the first round so that was a big win tonight.”
The Thunder got on the boards first Saturday with a goal in the dying seconds of the first period from Dwayne Blais. The second frame saw the team continue their efforts with a power play goal from Pat Ouellet and a nice short-handed marker from Devos. That put the team up 3-0 at about 30 minutes into the WOAA Senior Men’s hockey game.
“Tonight we actually felt like a team for the first time in a while,” said Devos. “So we’re confident going into the playoffs.”
Goaltender Ben Thomas, who recently signed with the Thunder, got the start Saturday.
“This is my first game so it was nice to get the win,” said Thomas. “I know Petrolia is battling for fourth or fifth spot. It’s a big win.”
Thomas stopped 30 of 33 shots, and felt it was a full team effort in the Thunder’s first win of 2013. Third period goals came from Justin Salt and Nathan Peacock to bring the tally on the night to five goals.
“The first and second period the guys played great, there were a couple of lapses in the third, myself included, but we battled and got the two points,” Thomas added.
Blais, who scored the first goal of the night, agreed.
“I think we just played a better team game - everyone worked hard, we had four lines going. It was a good team effort tonight.
“They (Petrolia) are good – they play hard, they hit hard and they finish their checks. They’re a hard to play team.”
Thunder coach Tim Christo was also pleased with his team’s effort at home Saturday.
“I thought we played a better game,” said Christo. “Our goalie matched their goalie save per save. I thought we played really well, but when we did have a few breakdowns we got some good saves there tonight.
“That first period was a good period, we were fortunate to be up 1-0 and we rolled out in the second for a good solid period there,” he said, noting a couple a penalties late in the game combined with Petrolia’s tough, grinding play could have meant a different outcome.
“We always have good games with them (Petrolia). They’re always tight and close. They beat us the first two times we played them this year. For the most part, I think that we played a good solid game, start to finish.”