Thunderbirds clinch 2nd straight regular season title



Release Date: Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

Thunderbirds clinch 2nd straight regular season title

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Soo Thunderbirds rallied with two late goals to pull out a 5-4 victory over the Sudbury Nickel Barons in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Saturday at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

With the win, the Thunderbirds clinched top spot overall in NOJHL regular season play for a second straight year.

Sitting now with a NOJHL-leading 80 points, the best second place Kirkland Lake can do now is tie Sault Ste. Marie for top spot in the overall standings, with the Thunderbirds holding the tie breaker against the Gold Miners by virtue of a better head-to-head record against them during the 2014-15 campaign.

The home side took a 1-0 lead after one period of play thanks to Nicolas Tassone’s 31st goal of the season.

Joey Miller put the T-Birds up by two four minutes in the middle stanza before Sudbury battled back with markers from affiliate Eric Paquette and a power play marker courtesy of Eric Champagne to level the proceedings.

However, Anthony Miller put the Soo up 3-2 before the second was complete as he connected at 16:11.

A man advantage effort off the stick of Kyle Fransen tied it for the Nickel Barons early in the third before Jimmy Roy gave the visitors the lead with 12:27 to go.

The Thunderbirds drew level with 1:32 remaining in regulation thanks to Devin Shell and then with overtime looming, pulled out the triumph on a Joey Miller power play goal with 33 seconds left on the clock to complete the late comeback.

Caleb Bowman dished out three assists to aid the T-Birds offensively.

Brian Kment made 22 saves to pick up the win in net for the Thunderbirds while Kevin Labelle faced 38 shots in defeat for Sudbury.