By Matt Stefano
Zach Senecal became the first T-Bird to ever score a hat trick at the Dudley Hewitt Cup on Wednesday afternoon in a 6-5 victory over the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers, but on Thursday night, the Soo Thunderbirds wrapped up round robin action against the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, the team they swept in four straight in the NOJHL finals.
The T-Birds defeated the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 3-2 and have closed out round robin action with a record of 2-1.
T-Birds forward Jaren Bellini led the way offensively with three assists.
“It was a tight game, but I thought we played a strong game for a full sixty minutes,” said Bellini.
The T-Birds, who went one for five on the power play, went a perfect twelve for twelve on the penalty kill.
“Our strong penalty kill led to our success offensively,” Bellini added.
Matt Pinder, Matt Caruso and Matt Busby (power play) had the goals for the Soo while Jake Behse, Brandon Grandinetti and Nolan Makkonen each had one assist.
Trevor Hester and Blake Anderson had the goals for Kirkland Lake while Alexander Hester, Dalton Anderson, Brandon Wolfe and Cade Herd had an assist each.
Gold Miners forward Karter Renouf, who was awarded a penalty shot at 14:49 of the second period, did not score.
T-Birds goalie Brandon Gordon made thirty three saves in his first start at the Dudley Hewitt Cup.
Gold Miners goalie Tyler Mazzocato, who let in two goals on thirty shots after two periods was replaced by Victor-Oliver Courchesne, who let in one goal on seven shots the rest of the way.
The T-Birds will now play Kirkland Lake in semifinal action at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex and will look to advance to the Dudley Hewitt Cup final for the second straight year.
“We have to play even harder than we did tonight,” said Bellini. “The Gold Miners are going to give it their all, so we just have to stick to our game plan and play disciplined.”
Brandon Wolfe was named the Gold Miners player of the game with one assist while Matt Caruso, who had one goal on the night was named the T-Birds player of the game.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)