By Matt Stefano
After losing 3-2 in overtime to the Rayside Balfour Canadians at Chelmsford Arena last Saturday in Game 2 of the NOJHL’s West Division Final series, the Soo Thunderbirds returned to the John Rhodes Community Centre on Wednesday night with the series tied 1-1.
Despite battling back from being down 3-1 after the second period, the Thunderbirds dropped a 4-3 decision to the Rayside Balfour Canadians in Game 3 of the West Division Final on Wednesday night.
“We started off pretty slow and then got things going,” said Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Tristan Cicchello. “We tied the game up, but just couldn’t finish it.”
The Thunderbirds, who began the third period on a two man advantage, scored a pair of power play goals which tied the game up at three.
“I think our power play is going pretty well right now, but we just need to score more goals even strength,” continued Cicchello.
Rookie defenceman Tristan Cicchello scored all three goals for the Thunderbirds on Wednesday night, becoming the first Thunderbird defenceman to record a hat trick in a playoff game since Owen Headrick did back on March 15th, 2015.
“It felt pretty good, but it would’ve been better if we would’ve won,” continued Cicchello.
Bradon Caruso, Alex Acosta, Ryan Lawrence, Kaidan McDonald and Noah Solinger all chipped in with one assist each for the Thunderbirds.
Gabriel Rheault had a goal and an assist each for the Canadians while Jacob Patridge also had a two point night with a shorthanded tally and an assist.
Matthew Neault (power play) and Kyle Liinamaa had a goal each for the Canadians while Ethan Lavallee and Noah Serre had one assist each.
Defenceman Ryan O’Bonsawin led the way offensively for the Canadians with three assists.
Eric Schuch gave up 4 goals on 32 shots in the Thunderbirds loss while Canadians goaltender Brayden Lachance made 41 saves for the victory.
The Thunderbirds, who now trail the Canadians 2-1 in the best of seven series, will be right back in action for Game 4 of on Thursday night at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
“We are just going to regroup and come out here as hard as possible,” concluded Cicchello.
Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Ontario Hockey League has announced the finalists for the league’s top awards for the 2017-2018 season, and one former Soo Thunderbird is nominated for one of them.
Former Soo Thunderbird and current Sudbury Wolves forward Drake Pilon is a finalist for the Red Tilson Trophy for the Ontario Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)