By Matt Stefano
After capturing their second straight Copeland Cup McNamara Trophy on April 22nd with a 7-0 win over Kirkland Lake and sweeping the NOJHL final series in four straight, the 2016 NOJHL champion Soo Thunderbirds were right back in the same city and building where it all happened.
The Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake.
But this time, on the next mission.
The T-Birds, who are also the defending Dudley Hewitt Cup champions opened up the first game of the Central Canada Junior A championship on Tuesday afternoon against the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks.
This was also a battle of two of the top four teams in Canada.
The T-Birds, who finished third in this year’s Canadian Junior Hockey League’s top twenty rankings, ten spots up from one season ago, took on a Trenton Golden Hawks team that finished at No. 4 in the country this season.
At the 4:20 mark of the first period, Lucas Brown’s goal from Kevin Lavoie and Jordan DaSilva put Trenton on top 1-0.
T-Birds rookie forward Mark Tassone tied things up on the power play at 15:20 from Matt Caruso and Nathan Hebert.
With the teams tied 1-1 after the first, there would be no scoring until the third period.
The T-Birds would take the lead early in the third, as Mike Caruso’s power play goal just 2:05 in from Matt Busby and Drake Pilon put the Soo in front 2-1.
Then just 1:10 later, it would be Trenton tying things up on a power play goal of their own, as Adam Clements got his first of the tournament from Hunter Fargey and Mitch Emerson.
The Hawks would then take the lead at 15:42, courtesy of Josh Allan’s power play goal from Lucas Brown and Kevin Lavoie to put Trenton in front 3-2.
Hunter Fargey’s shorthanded goal into an empty net with forty seven seconds to go in regulation from Brandon Marinelli put it away, as the T-Birds dropped their first game of the Dudley Hewitt Cup Tournament by a 4-2 score to the Trenton Golden Hawks.
Trenton went 2 for 11 of the power play while the T-Birds went 2 for 10.
Golden Hawks defenceman Josh Allan was named their player of the game with a power play goal.
Goaltender Connor Ryckman, who gave up three goals on forty two shots was named the T-Birds player of the game.
Daniel Urbani turned aside thirty four shots for the Hawks victory.
The T-Birds will now take on the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. from the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)