NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Soo holds on to go up 2-0 on Abitibi
SAULT STE. MARIE – The Soo Thunderbirds erupted for four first period goals and then had to withstand a furious comeback bid by a resilient Abitibi Eskimos squad to pull out a narrow 7-5 victory Saturday afternoon in game 2 of their first round Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff series at Essar Centre.
With the win the Thunderbirds now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into game 3 next Saturday at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls. Puck drop in that one is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Daniel Pymaki put the Sault on the board 2:11 into the contest spelling a quick end to Abitibi starter Jeremy Laux’s day.
The Thunderbirds then greeted Laux’s replacement, Jackson Winkler, by beating him three times before the opening period was complete, including a pair of tallies by Brandon Warmington while Derek Battagin potted one of his own.
It was a different story in the middle stanza as the Eskimos bounced back to make a game of it by getting markers from affiliate Marc Dube and Nick Fountain to make it 4-2 after 40 minutes.
However the T-Birds answered back quickly in the final frame as Warmington was sent in all alone on a breakaway on a nifty stretch pass and made no mistake to finish off a three-goal performance at 1:48.
Adam Ritchie then powered his way up the left wing and drove hard to the net three minutes later to extend the Sault Ste. Marie lead.
However, the Eskimos’ Justin Holliday scooped up a rebound to the left of T-Birds’ netminder Steven Dombrowski and snapped it high to make it a 6-3 score with 12 minutes to go.
Ever persistent, Abitibi refused to go away pulling back to with two as Holliday notched his second of the stanza at 12:33 to make it a 6-4 game.
Even being down a man the Eskimos continued to attack as Holliday struck on a shorthanded break to finish off a natural hat-trick with 4:22 to go.
With their net empty in favour of an extra attacker and pressing for the equalizer, Abitibi had a late face-off deep in Sault Ste. Marie territory, but the Thunderbirds won the draw and sent in down the ice where Warmington scooped up the puck and slid his fourth of the contest into a vacant cage to round out the scoring with a second to go.
NOJHL playoff action resumes this evening as the Sudbury Nickel Barons host the Elliot Lake Bobcats in game 1 of their series while the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners will try and go up 2-0 in their best-of-seven series vs. the Blind River Beavers in game 2 at The Joe.
NOJHL Playoffs: Round 1
No. 2 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 7 Abitibi Eskimos
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Soo 9 Abitibi 2
Game 2: Soo 7 Abitibi 5
Game 3: Saturday, March 23 @ Iroquois Falls 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 4: Sunday, March 24 @ Iroquois Falls 2 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 5*: Monday, March 25 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Tuesday, March 26 @ Iroquois Falls 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 27 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Arena – T.B.A.)
No. 3 Sudbury Nickel Barons vs. No. 6 Elliot Lake Bobcats
Best-of-seven series tied 0-0
Game 1: Saturday, March 16 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
Game 2: Monday, March 18 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial Arena)
Game 3: Wednesday, March 20 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
Game 4: Friday, March 22 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial Arena)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 23 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
Game 6*: Sunday, March 24 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 27 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
No. 4 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners vs. No. 5 Blind River Beavers
Gold Miners lead best-of-seven series 1-0
Game 1: Kirkland Lake 5 Blind River 2
Game 2: Saturday, March 16 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 3: Thursday, March 21 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 4: Friday, March 22 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 23 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 6*: Tuesday, March 26 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 27 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac)
Bye: No. 1 North Bay Trappers (Regular season winner)