By Matt Stefano
After coming back from being down 2-0 in game 1 with five unanswered goals going on to defeat the Wildcats 5-2 on Thursday, the T-Birds traveled to Cottage Country Saturday for game 2 of the West Division Finals. Heading intro tonight’s action, Elliot Lake’s goaltender AJ Smith had recently committed to the Northland College Lumberjacks in NCHA for the 2015-2016 season.
The T-Birds came out flying late in the first period as Matt Caruso notched his league leading 12th goal of the postseason at 16:13 from Matt Pinder and Brandon Grandinetti to put the Soo up 1-0. Caruso’s 12th goal of the playoffs also tied the T-Birds record with Jeff Rainville (2003), Matt Caria (2005) and Nick Minardi (2009) for most goals in a single postseason. Thirteen ticks later, it would be Joey Miller’s 1st from Nathan Hebert to put the Soo up 2-0. Hounds prospect and Waterloo, Ontario native Boris Katchouk, who was coming off a three point performance in game 1, notched his 2nd of the postseason from Matt Busby at 17:22 to put the Soo ahead by three. Nick Tassone would get his 2nd of the playoffs with 1:06 to go in the first from Eric Hillock amid Owen Headrick to give the T-Birds a 4-0 lead after one.
Spencer MacLean’s powerplay goal at 10:37 from Adam Baxter and Shane Woolsey cut the lead to 4-1. Brett Jeffries would put the T-Birds up 5-1 with his first at 16:22 from Matt Pinder and Boris Katchouk.
With the Soo leading 5-1 heading into the third, it would be Nathan Campbell’s powerplay goal at 14:49 from Adam Baxter and Cole Hepler to cut the lead to three, but the Thunderbirds took game 2 tonight at Centennial Arena with a 5-2 victory and have out scored the Cats 10-4 through the first two meetings of the West Division Finals.
Brian Kment turned aside 37 shots for the victory.
Game 3 goes back in the Soo on Monday, March 30th from the Essar Centre at 7:30.