By Matt Stefano
Tonight the Soo Thunderbirds returned home to the comforts of the Essar Centre after dropping a 5-3 game four decision in Elliot Lake on Wednesday and were hoping to wrap up the series in five games.
Nick Sicoly’s shorthanded goal and fourth of the postseason put the Soo up 1-0 just 2:17 into the first from Brandon Grandinetti before Joey Miller’s second of the playoffs from Connor Dea and Owen Headrick at 13:37 gave the T-Birds a 2-0 lead after one.
Matt Busby’s second of the postseason just twenty three seconds in on the power play gave the Soo a 3-0 lead after two from Matt Caruso and Boris Katchouk.
Owen Headrick’s ninth goal of the playoffs on the power play at 3:23 from Boris Katchouk and Matt Busby gave the Soo a 4-0 lead. Matt Caruso’s league leading fourteenth of the postseason at 12:33 from Connor Dea and Matt Mitchell gave the Soo a 5-0 lead before Anthony Miller’s eighth of the playoffs at 15:24 from Jaren Bellini on the power play was the final goal of the game as the T-Birds went on to blank the Elliot Lake Wildcats 6-0 to wrap up the series in five games. The Soo outscored Elliot Lake 24-9 in the West Division Finals series and have advanced to the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League finals for the fourth consecutive year.
Brian Kment made nineteen stops for his league leading fourth playoff shutout and his fifth career postseason shutout had also set a new record for the T-Birds record book, passing Ryan Dube (2006-2009) and Adam Hanna (2001-2002) who each had four.
Game one of the NOJHL finals will begin on Saturday, April 11th at 7:30 against the Cochrane Crunch at the Essar Centre.
Note: Former T-Bird defenseman Medric Mercier picked up his first career Ontario Hockey League postseason point and assist with the Soo Greyhounds on Thursday, April 2nd over Saginaw.