NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Thunderbirds rally to tie late then take game 3 early in OT
IROQUOIS FALLS – An Eric Hillock tap-in goal 1:19 into overtime was the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds rallied late to eke out a narrow 2-1 decision over the Abitibi Eskimos Wednesday evening in game 3 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League semifinal series at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.
With the result the Thunderbirds now lead in the best-of-seven set 3-0 with a chance to advance to the NOJHL final with a victory in game 4, which goes Thursday at 7:30 p.m. back at Jus Jordan Arena.
Neither side connected on the scoreboard in the opening 20 minutes, with Brody Wagner of Abitibi, nor the Thunderbirds’ Brian Kment allowing any shots to get past them.
The two goaltenders stood tall once again the middle stanza keeping the game scoreless through 40 minutes.
Abitibi would finally get on the board with 11:19 remaining as Steven Petitte’s shot from the right point found its way into the back of the net.
Then with Kment freshly on the bench in favour of an extra attacker Sault Ste. Marie forced overtime with just 16.8 seconds left in regulation as defenceman Tyler Jones pinched in and snapped one past Wagner for the equalizer.
Early in OT the T-Birds’ Anthony Miller powered his way down the right side and corralled his own rebound of a shot from behind the net and calmly threw the puck in front where an open Hillock tapped in the winning goal to put his side in control of the series.
Shots on goal in this hard-fought contest were 39-36 in favour of the Sault with Kment picking up the win and Wagner the loss.
Also on Thursday game 4 of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners – Espanola River semifinal is slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
The Gold Miners lead that best-of-seven 3-0 and are a win away from advancing to the NOJHL final while the Rivermen must win to stave off elimination.
NOJHL SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE/RESULTS:
No. 1 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 4 Abitibi Eskimos
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 3-0
Game 1: Soo 5 Abitibi 4
Game 2: Soo 4 Abitibi 1
Game 3: Soo 2 Abitibi 1 (OT)
Game 4: Thursday, April 3 @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 5*: Saturday, April 5 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, April 7 @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 9 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
No. 2 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners vs. No. 3 Espanola Rivermen
Gold Miners lead best-of-seven series 3-0
Game 1: Kirkland Lake 2 Espanola 1
Game 2: Kirkland Lake 2 Espanola 1
Game 3: Kirkland Lake 3 Espanola 2
Game 4: Thursday, April 3 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: Saturday, April 5 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: Monday, April 7 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 9 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.