Thunderbirds claim regular season crown with win over Canadians


Release Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Thunderbirds claim regular season crown with win over Canadians

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds picked up a pair of goals from Drake Pilon to help power them to a 5-2 victory over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Wednesday at Essar Centre.

With the win, Sault Ste. Marie clinched their third consecutive NOJHL regular season title thus earning them home ice advantage in the upcoming league playoffs.

Pilon put the Thunderbirds in flight 24 seconds after the opening face-off with assists from his twin brother Darian along with Ryan Mulligan.

Drake Pilon notched his second of the stanza and 15th overall at 18:10 to put the Soo up by two.

They added one more before the first was complete as Mark Tassone scored with 27 seconds left to make it 3-0.

Rayside-Balfour replaced starter MacKenzie Savard with Jessie Morin to begin the middle session and the Canadians responded to the move by getting on the board at 3:37 as Tristan Simm connected for an 11th time in 2015-16.

Adam McPhail got that back for the T-Birds just past the nine-minute mark of period before the visitors countered with 12 seconds left in the session on a Jayme Forslund effort.

Jake Behse put the game away for the Soo with the lone tally of the third to round out the scoring.

Mulligan and Brett Jeffries dished out a pair of assists each in the win for the Thunderbirds.

Connor Ryckman stopped 17 shots to secure the victory for the T-Birds.

Savard suffered the loss facing 10 attempts in 20 minutes of work while Morin handled 33 of 35 in two periods of relief for the Canadians.

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