T-Birds put stranglehold series lead vs Eagles

By Matt Stefano

After taking a 2-0 series lead on Monday night with a 6-0 win over the Soo Eagles at the Essar Centre, the Soo Thunderbirds were in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Wednesday night for game 3 of the West Division semifinals.

Matt Caruso’s 4th of the postseason at 15:25 into the first period from Brandon Grandinetti and Darian Pilon was enough as the Soo Thunderbirds shutout the Soo Eagles 1-0 at Pullar Stadium to take a 3-0 series lead.

T-Birds goalie Connor Ryckman made 23 saves for his second straight shutout while Eagles netminder Jack Deines surrendered just the 1 goal on 43 shots.

Ryckman becomes the first T-Bird goalie to record back to back shutouts in a postseason after Brian Kmemt did in the 2015 playoffs.

The T-Birds will now look to wrap up the West Division semifinal series in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Friday, March 25th at 7:30 p.m. from the Pullar Stadium.


On Wednesday, the NOJHL has announced a correction on the Wayne Chase Memorial Award recipient.

T-Birds rookie netminder and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan product Brandon Gordon, who was the original winner of this year’s Wayne Chase Memorial Award for posting the league’s lowest goals against average, was announced before the T-Birds final regular season game, which was a make-up contest against the Elliot Lake Wildcats.

That make-up contest following the NOJHL awards, had the overall league average for minimum amount of minutes played to go up to 1080 from 1020 to be able to qualify for this award.

After the make-up game in Elliot Lake, Gordon ended the 2015-2016 regular season with only 1052 minutes played and was 28 more short of the NOJHL’s required minimum.

The Wayne Chase Memorial Award for the league’s lowest goals against average will now be presented to Kirkland Lake Gold Miners goaltender Tyler Mazzocato, who finished with a qualified 1219 minutes played.


The Soo Thunderbirds will be holding their 2016 Spring Tryout Camp at the John Rhodes Community Centre from May 13th-15th.

This year’s camp is open to players born in 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997 & 1996 and deadline to register is May 9th.

Registration costs $150 and players interested must contact Soo Thunderbirds general manager Jamie Henderson at jhendersongm@outlook.com.

Camp schedule:

Friday, May 13th from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 14th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 14th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 15th from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Registration & permission to skate forms are also available online at http://tbirdhockey.ca/tryouts

(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/SSMPhotos.com)

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