By Matt Stefano
They have not lost to the Blind River Beavers all season long.
But on Tuesday night in Blind River, the Thunderbirds had their ten game winning streak against the Beavers snapped.
After winning all eight regular season meetings against the Beavers this season, and opening up the West Division Semifinal series with a 2-0 lead, the Thunderbirds fell short in game 3 on Tuesday night in Blind River as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Beavers at the Blind River Community Centre.
The Beavers took a 1-0 lead after twenty minutes of play, thanks to Ryan Peck’s fifth goal of the playoffs from Riley Nadeau and Nathan Balkwill at the 19:30 mark of the first.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native Jordan Ritchie would then give the Beavers a 2-0 lead with his first career NOJHL goal from Ryan Mulligan and Ryan Peck at the 11:48 mark of the second.
The Thunderbirds would then cut the lead to 2-1 at the 13:09 mark of the second, courtesy of Lucas Theriault’s team leading third goal of the playoffs from Noah Boman.
Blind River would then go up by two once again with just thirteen ticks left to go in the middle frame, courtesy of Nathan Engel’s third goal of the playoffs.
With the Thunderbirds trailing 3-1 at the start of the third period, it would be Birmingham, Michigan product Spencer Van Tiem getting his second goal of the playoffs from Brendan Miller just fifteen seconds into the final frame.
Despite making it a close game, the Thunderbirds fell to the Beavers for the first time since January 27th, 2017, when they lost to them by a score of 5-1 at the Blind River Community Centre.
Jackson Hjelle made twenty saves in net for the Beavers while Thunderbirds netminder Colin Ahern gave up three goals on twenty nine shots in the loss.
The Thunderbirds, who now lead the best of seven series 2-1, will be back in action on Friday at 7:00 p.m. for game 4 against the Beavers, which will take place at the Blind River Community Centre.
(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin/www.ssmphotos.com)