By Matt Stefano
The Soo Thunderbirds will officially begin the NOJHL’s West Division final on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Rayside Balfour Canadians at Chelmsford Arena.
This season, the Canadians finished first in the NOJHL’s West Division with 79 points, just three points ahead of the Thunderbirds, who had 76.
HEAD TO HEAD
In eight meetings against the Canadians during the regular season, the Thunderbirds have beaten them 4 times and have lost to them 4 times.
The Thunderbirds have outscored the Canadians 22-21 overall.
Second year forward Nick Smith has led the way offensively against the Canadians this season, scoring 6 times and setting up 4 others.
LEAGUE LEADERS IN THE PLAYOFFS
Thunderbirds rookie defenceman Robert Calisti currently leads all NOJHL rookie defencemen in points (5) and penalty minutes (10).
So far in the postseason, Thunderbirds rookie goaltender Eric Schuch has the league’s lowest goals against average (1.21) among rookie goaltenders and the best save percentage (.957) among all NOJHL netminders.
Heading into the West Division final, the Thunderbirds and Canadians are tied for the league’s best power play (24.0%) this postseason.
Game 1: Friday, March 30th at 7:00 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 2: Saturday, March 31st at 7:00 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 3: Wednesday, April 4th at 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes)
Game 4: Thursday, April 5th at 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes)
Game 5:* Sunday, April 8th at 4:00 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 6:* Monday, April 9th at 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes)
Game 7:* Wednesday, April 11th at 7:00 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)