By Matt Stefano
With the Soo Thunderbirds up 3-0 heading into Monday night’s game 4 of West Division semi finals action in Blind River, the Soo was just a win away from sweeping the series after outscoring the Beavers 32-1 in the first three games. Rookie forward Matt Caruso was coming off back to back hat tricks while defenseman Owen Headrick’s four goal performance in game 3 has made him the Soo’s all time leader for most playoff goals amongst defensemen.
The T-Birds defeated the Beavers 9-0 tonight at the Blind River Community Centre to win the series in four straight. Nathan Hebert led the way offensivley for the Soo with a goal and four helpers. Matt Caruso scored three times giving him his third consecutive hat trick which now gives the seventeen year old eleven goals this playoff season sitting just one away from tying the team record for most goals in a playoff season. That record is shared by Matt Caria (2005), Jeff Rainville (2003) and Nick Minardi (2009). Jaren Bellini had a pair of goals and a helper while Nick Sicoly also had a three point night with a goal and two assists. Nick Tassone scored a power play goal along with adding a helper while Devin Shell set up a pair. Brandon Grandinetti’s first career playoff goal proved to be the game winner while Matt Busby, Matt Pinder, Joey Miller, Boris Katchouk, David Radke and Connor Dea all got on the scoresheet with single assists.
Mario Culina made 11 saves for his first career playoff shutout.
During this series, the T-Birds have outscored the Blind River Beavers 41-1 and outshot them 243-59.
The T-Birds who have now advanced to the West Division Finals will face off against the winner of the West Division semifinal series between Sudbury and Elliot Lake. The Nickel Barons currently lead that series 2-1 with game 4 taking place tomorrow night at McClelland Arena.