NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Sunday, April 20, 2014
4 points for Haines as Thunderbirds force game 6
SAULT STE. MARIE – Facing a must-win scenario the Soo Thunderbirds got a goal and three assists from Darcy Haines Sunday and they skated to a convincing 5-1 victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in game 5 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Copeland Cup – McNamara trophy final at Essar Centre.
With the decision the Thunderbirds have forced a sixth game in the best-of-seven series, which they now trail 3-2.
That contest is slated for Tuesday evening at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake at 7:30 p.m.
Should a seventh and deciding game be needed, it will go at 7:30 p.m. Thursday back at Essar Centre.
In Sunday’s match-up an Anthony Miller shorthanded tally 17 minutes into the second period turned out to be the game-winner as Sault Ste. Marie staved off elimination with the solid triumph.
Neither side would find the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes, but Gavin Burbach finished off the work of Haines and David Radke 5:21 into the middle session to put the T-Birds on the board.
Miller then struck for the eventual difference maker in the latter stages of the stanza to put the home side up a pair entering the third.
Dan Morin pulled the Gold Miners to within one 8:45 into the final frame, but Haines answered right back for the Thunderbirds less than two minutes later.
The Sault then put the game away in the late going as they notched consecutive power play markers from Joey Miller and Medric Mercier, set-up by Haines, to round out the night’s scoring.
Joel Horodziejczyk made 16 saves to record the victory in net while Jeremy Pominville faced 32 shots and suffered the loss for Kirkland Lake.
The NOJHL winner will advance to represent the league at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship April 29 through May 3 in Wellington, Ont.
They will join the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, title holders from the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and the winner of Superior International Junior Hockey League along with the host Wellington Dukes (OJHL) at the five-day event.
In the OJHL final Toronto Lakeshore defeated the Aurora Tigers 3-1 Sunday to claim the Buckland Cup OJHL championship winning that best-of-seven set 4-2.
As for the SIJHL league championship, the Fort Frances Lakers face another must-win Monday as they visit the Minnesota Iron Rangers trailing the Bill Salonen Cup final 3-2.
NOJHL final for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Gold Miners lead best-of-seven series 3-2
Game 1: Soo 2 Kirkland Lake 1 (2 OT)
Game 2: Kirkland Lake 5 Soo 3
Game 3: Kirkland Lake 4 Soo 3 (OT)
Game 4: Kirkland Lake 4 Soo 1
Game 5: Soo 5 Kirkland Lake 1
Game 6: Tuesday, April 22 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac C.C.)
Game 7*: Thursday, April 24 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
* – if necessary