T-Birds put stranglehold lead on Wildcats

Rod Aubertin: SSMPhotos.com

A thirty two save performance by Connor Ryckman on Monday, helped the Soo Thunderbirds to a 5-0 win over the Elliot Lake Wildcats in game two of the NOJHL’s West Division final series. But on Wednesday night, the T-Birds decided to go with rookie goaltender Brandon Gordon to start in net for game three of the West Division finals at the Essar Centre.

Gordon, in just his first career NOJHL playoff game, was named third star of the game as he stopped all twenty one shots directed his way in a 5-0 win over the Elliot Lake Wildcats.

“I thought we played hard,” said Gordon. “Tonight was a good team effort all around for us.”

The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan product also became the first T-Bird goalie to record an NOJHL playoff shutout in his first postseason game since Joel Horodziejczyk did back on March 23rd, 2013.

“I just treat it like any other game,” continued the T-Birds rookie goalie. “I just wanted to come out and give my team a chance to win.”

T-Birds assistant captain Matt Mitchell was named second star of the game, finishing off with a pair goals including one on the power play.

Captain Brett Jeffries, who was named first star of the game, also had a two goal game including one shorthanded along with setting up another.

Zach Senecal had a goal (shorthanded) and an assist for the T-Birds while overage forward Joey Miller also had a two point night with a pair of helpers.

Matt Busby, Ryan Mulligan and Caleb Boman all had an assist each on the night.

The T-Birds, who are now up 3-0 in the NOJHL’s West Division finals, will look to wrap up the series on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Elliot Lake.

“If we keep playing our game like we have been the whole playoffs, we will be alright,” concluded Gordon.

Wildcats goalie Aaron Mackay surrendered five goals on thirty five shots.

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Matt had graduated from Sault College in the General Arts and Sciences program in 2011 and has been working in the sports field ever since. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has worked as an Athletics Assistant in the Sault College Athletics Department during his final year of school in 2011. After graduating, Stefano worked for two years at the George Leach Centre from 2011-2013 for the Algoma University Thunderbirds Varsity Basketball Games as an Athletics Assistant. From 2013 on, Stefano has been working as the Soo Thunderbirds communications person and has also been volunteering with Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie since 2014, doing Soo Thunderbirds TV Segments.