By Matt Stefano
After eliminating the host team Kirkland Lake Gold Miners on Friday night with a 4-1 win in the Dudley Hewitt Cup semifinal, the Soo Thunderbirds were looking to capture their second consecutive Central Canada title in the Dudley Hewitt Cup final on Saturday night against the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks.
The T-Birds, who entered Saturday night’s championship game with a 3-1 record, were up against an undefeated Trenton Golden Hawks team, who were 3-0.
On Saturday night, the defending Dudley Hewitt Cup champion Soo Thunderbirds fell to the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks 4-0 in the Dudley Hewitt Cup championship game at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
Lucas Brown was named the Golden Hawks player of the game with a natural hat trick, including an empty netter.
Brown was also named the most valuable player at the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
Quinn Lenihan had the other goal for Trenton into an empty net.
Golden Hawks forward Liam Morgan had a multi point night with a pair of helpers while Brandon Marinelli, Kevin Lavoie, Adam Clements and Keaton Ratcliffe all had an assist each.
Daniel Urbani made twenty eight saves for the Golden Hawks win while T-Birds goalie Connor Ryckman gave up two goals on thirty five shots for the loss.
Overage forward Matt Pinder was named the T-Birds player of the game.
“We played hard all game, but we didn’t get the bounces we would’ve liked,” said Pinder.
The two-time NOJHL champion Soo Thunderbirds, who have had another successful season during 2015-2016, finished third in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s top twenty rankings and set a new team record for least goals scored against in one season with ninety three, dating back to 2000-2001, when they gave up ninety five goals against.
The T-Birds, who have also won their third consecutive James Aspin Trophy this year, as the NOJHL’s regular season champions, have a total of ten graduating players on their 2015-2016 roster, including four defenceman and six forwards.
Defencemen: Khadyn Butterfly, Aiden Salerno, Mike Caruso and Caleb Boman
Forwards: Matt Mitchell, Joey Miller, Nathan Hebert, Izaak Del Mastro, Matt Pinder and captain Brett Jeffries
“I’m proud of all the boys and I wouldn’t have wanted to play for any other team to finish my junior A career,” said T-Birds graduating forward Matt Pinder. “I have made a lot of close friends and also made some memories that will last a lifetime.”
Following the championship game, T-Birds overage defenceman Mike Caruso was named the top defenceman at the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
(Photo of Matt Pinder credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)