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T-Birds go down 2-0 in West Division semifinal series

By Matt Stefano

After dropping a hard fought battle in game 1 on Thursday evening, losing by a score 4-3 in double overtime to the Soo Eagles, the Soo Thunderbirds were hoping to tie the series up on Saturday night in game 2 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

Despite outshooting the Eagles 40-32 overall, the Soo Thunderbirds dropped the second game of the NOJHL’s West Division semifinal series, losing by a score of 4-3 to the Soo Eagles, this time in regulation time.

“We started off pretty hard,” said T-Birds forward Keegan Stevenson, who had a goal and an assist.

The T-Birds, who trailed 2-1 after the first and 3-2 after the second, tied the game at 5:45 into the third, before falling behind once again with just 13:13 left to go in regulation time.

“We were going balls out just trying to get pucks to the net. Then just ended up in the high slot and they got a quick shot off,” continued Stevenson.

The T-Birds went 0 for 3 on the power play while going 3 for 4 on the penalty kill.

“They were getting into our shot land, so it was kind of difficult to get our shots off,” continued Stevenson. “But we’ve been moving the puck pretty well and we just need to get a couple of goals on the power play.”

The T-Birds, who are now down 2-0 in the series, but have only been outscored 8-6, will now head to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for game 3 on Wednesday night.

“We are going to have to give it our all,” concluded Stevenson. “We need to get a win going to give the boys motivation and just try our hardest.”

Chris Murphy led the way offensively for the Eagles with three assists.

Brad Hofelich had a power play goal and an assist for the Eagles while Jake Saxton and Jake Cimarusti also had a goal and an assist each.

Nick Trecroce and William Casey had an assist each for the Eagles.

Zach Senecal, who had a two goal performance in game 1, scored his team leading third goal of the playoffs for the T-Birds on Saturday night in game 2.

Senecal’s third goal of the postseason also tied his playoff goal totals from the 2016 playoffs.

Greg Smith had the other goal for the T-Birds while Mike Winn, Austin Kozluk, Alec Allen and Mark Tassone all chipped in with an assist each.

Brandon Gordon gave up 4 goals on 32 shots in the T-Birds loss while Kade Phipps made 37 stops for the Eagles victory.

(Photo credit to Rod Aubertin www.ssmphotos.com)