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Thunderbirds clip Crunch to even NOJHL finals at 1-1

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thunderbirds clip Crunch to even NOJHL finals at 1-1

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Soo Thunderbirds broke open a one-goal game with five unanswered markers in the second period en route to an impressive 8-0 victory over the Cochrane Crunch Sunday in Game 2 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s championship series for the Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy at Essar Centre.

With the result the best-of-seven set is now tied at 1-1 heading into Game 3 Thursday at the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane at 7:30 p.m.

Pressing the attack from the onset, the Thunderbirds opened the scoring 4:39 into the contest as defenceman and Colorado College NCAA commitment David Radke blasted one past Brett Young from the high slot.

Sault Ste. Marie used a solid cycle play to go up a pair early in the middle session, which saw Nicolas left alone in front where he made no mistake snapping one low-blocker side on Young at 3:15.

Taking advantage of the lively boards at Essar Centre the home side added to their cushion three and a half minutes later as a Matt Pinder shot went wide, but bounced out the other side of the net right to Boris Katchouk, who slammed in his fourth of the playoffs.

On transition the Thunderbirds made it 4-0 as Jaren Bellini flew out of his own zone and darted up ice and wristed one high on Young at 11:48.

That tally resulted in a goaltending change as Young was pulled in favour of Ben Auger.

The Soo then took full control of the contest late in the middle session as they scored twice on the power play to go up by six after two periods of play.

On a five-on-three, Pinder one-timed one from between the circles and beat Auger.

Still on the man advantage they capitalized on a turnover from behind the net that resulted in a tap-in for Anthony Miller 36 seconds later as he ran a playoff point streak to five in a row.

Young returned to the Cochrane net to start the final frame and he saw the Soo tack on another in the third as Nicolas Sicoly snapped one inside the left point that found its way through a crowd an in.

The NOJHL’s leading goal getter among defencemen in the Thunderbirds’ Owen Headrick rounded out the scoring with 1:21 to go as he wired home his 10th of the playoffs to finish off the romp.  He also extended a conseutive game point streak to seven in succession.

Headrick and Tassone both had two assists as well to cap-off three-point nights for the winning side.

Brett Jeffries also had a pair of helpers for the T-Birds in the triumph.

Making his third start of the postseason, Mario Culina posted his second shutout of the playoffs finishing the evening by stopping all 18 attempts he faced.

Young allowed six against on 31 attempts in defeat for the Crunch who lost for the first time on the road in seven  playoff outings while Auger gave up two on four shots in a brief relief stint.

Game sheet attached in PDF

COPELAND CUP – MCNAMARA TROPHY FINAL
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Cochrane Crunch
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Cochrane 6 Soo 2
Game 2: Soo 8 Cochrane 0
Game 3: Thursday, April 16 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
Game 4: Friday, April 17 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
Game 5: Monday, April 20 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Wednesday, April 22 @ Cochrane 7 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
Game 7*: Friday, April 24 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Essar Centre)
*-if necessary

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