By Matt Stefano
They battled back from being down 2-0 after the first, headed into extra time tied 3-3, but it would be the Soo Eagles coming out on top Thursday night as they defeated the Soo Thunderbirds 4-3 in double overtime in game 1 of the NOJHL’s West Division semifinal series.
Thursday night was also the T-Birds first double overtime game in the NOJHL playoffs since April 12th, 2014, when the they defeated the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 2-1 in game 1 of the NOJHL finals.
“I think we came out a bit slow,” said T-Birds forward Zach Senecal, who scored twice, including once on the power play. “But it’s the playoffs and it’s a long road, so we just have to take it one game at a time and bounce back from it.”
The T-Birds went one for six on the power play while going four for five on the penalty kill.
“Scoring on power plays is something we need to work on,” concluded Senecal. “We’ll definitely work on it in practice tomorrow, but you can’t stay too high and you can’t stay too low, so we’ll be ready to go for game 2.”
Keenan Eddy had the other goal for the T-Birds while Mike Winn, Gage Stephney, Matt Caruso and Nick Smith all recorded an assist each.
Jake Saxton had a power play goal and an assist for the Eagles while Nate Harris and Roman Gaudet both had two point performances of their own with a pair of assists each.
Brent Jones and Adam Ostrowski had a goal each for the Eagles while Gianni Vitali, Rhett Rampinelli and Chris Murphy had one assist each.
Matt Meininger’s goal at 1:25 into double overtime, proved to be the game winner for the Eagles.
Kade Phipps made 33 saves for the Eagles win while Brandon Gordon gave up 4 goals on 41 shots in the T-Birds loss.
Game 2 of the NOJHL’s West Division semifinal series will be back at the John Rhodes on Saturday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)