By Matt Stefano
After finishing first in the NOJHL standings with a record of 44 wins, 11 losses and 1 shootout loss, the Soo Thunderbirds began postseason action on Saturday night at the John Rhodes as they took on the Blind River Beavers in game 1 of the NOJHL’s West Division Semifinal series.
The Thunderbirds opened up the series with a victory on Saturday night as they doubled up the Beavers by a score of 4-2.
“We played really well throughout the whole game, said Thunderbirds forward Brendan Miller, who had a power play goal and an assist. “We didn’t have a game for ten days, so it was just about getting our legs back and putting pucks towards the net.”
Miller’s power play goal at the 16:50 mark of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game winner.
“I was getting a little bit tired towards the end, but I just crashed the net and found the puck there,” continued the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan product.
The Thunderbirds recorded forty one shots on net on Saturday night, including nineteen in the opening period.
“We just had to throw pucks on net and find a way to get it behind him (Garrett Boyonoski),” continued Miller. “We know Boyonoski is a good goalie and we just have to keep shooting on him.”
Richards Landing native Nolan Ford put the Thunderbirds up 1-0 after the first period along with adding an assist for a two point night while overage forward Spencer Van Tiem also had a multi point game with a pair of assists.
Lucas Theriault and Kaidan McDonald (empty net) had the other goals for the Soo while Kobe Seguin, Noah Boman and Nick Smith all got on the scoresheet with one assist each.
Ryan Peck led the way offensively for the Beavers with a goal and an assist while Riley Nadeau chipped in with one goal.
Ryan Mulligan, Matthew Murray and Ethan Graham all chipped in with one assist each for the Beavers.
Beavers goaltender and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario product Garrett Boyonoski gave up three goals on forty shots in the loss while Thunderbirds rookie netminder Colin Ahern made twenty saves for his first career playoff victory.
The Thunderbirds will now be right back in action on Sunday night for game 2 of the West Division Semifinal series, which will be a 7:00 p.m. start time at the John Rhodes.
“We are just going to get some rest tonight and come back with the same mentality, score some goals and win,” concluded Miller.
(Photo credit to Rod Aubetin/www.ssmphotos.com)