By Matt Stefano
After blanking the Rayside Balfour Canadians 2-0 on Friday night in the opening game of the NOJHL’s West Division Final at the Chelmsford Arena, the Soo Thunderbirds were hoping to come back home in the driver’s seat with a win in game 2 on Saturday night at Chelmsford Arena.
Veteran defenceman Braden King, who was acquired in a trade with the Cochrane Crunch back on the January 10th trade deadline, suited up for his first playoff game in a Thunderbird uniform on Saturday night.
After a scoreless first period, Tanner Mayne put the Thunderbirds up 1-0 at the 5:11 mark of the second period with his second goal of the playoffs from Steven Bellini and Brendan Miller.
Noah Solinger’s power play goal at the 12:44 mark of the second period put the Thunderbirds up 2-0 after forty minutes of play.
Bradon Caruso and Spencer Van Tiem had the assists on what would be Solinger’s second goal of the playoffs.
The Canadians would cut the Thunderbirds lead to 2-1 at the 5:03 mark of the third period, courtesy of Ryan O’Bonsawin’s second goal of the playoffs from Matthew Neault and Kyle Liinamaa.
Then, with 5:10 left to go in regulation time, it would be Canadians forward Kyle Liinamaa getting his fourth goal of the playoffs from Ethan Lavallee and Jordan Spadafore, tying the game up at two.
With the game tied 2-2 after the third period, the Thunderbirds were headed into overtime for the second time this postseason.
Kyle Liinamaa, who scored the tying goal at the 5:10 mark of the third period, scored his second goal of the game with 9:22 left in overtime to give the Rayside Balfour Canadians a 3-2 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds.
Jacob Partridge had the lone assist on Liinamaa’s overtime goal.
Thunderbirds goaltender Eric Schuch gave up 3 goals on 41 shots in the loss while Canadians netminder Brayden Lachance made 42 saves for the win.
With the series tied 1-1, Game 3 will be back at the John Rhodes Community Centre on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.
(Photo of Braden King credit to Jim Egan)