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Thunderbirds force game 6 in NOJHL final

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL COMMUNICATIONS
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Release Date: Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thunderbirds force game 6 in NOJHL final

NORTH BAY – Adam Ritchie scored a highlight reel goal, which proved to be the game-winner, as four minutes into the third period to help propel the Soo Thunderbirds to a 3-1 victory over the North Bay Trappers Sunday afternoon in game 4 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League finals, for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy, at Memorial Gardens.

With the win the T-Birds stave off elimination and force a sixth game Monday in Sault Ste. Marie as they now trail the best-of-seven series 3-2.

That contest will be held at the John Rhodes Community Centre at 7:30 p.m. as the Thunderbirds home arena, Essar Centre, is hosting the TELUS Cup Canadian National Midget Championship April 22-26.

Fans who can’t attend game 6 in person can view the match-up on a pay per view basis via NOJHL website (www.nojhl.com) and FASTHockey at nojhl.fasthockey.com.

Showing they had no intention of relinquishing the NOJHL playoff title they won a year ago without a fight, the Soo struck quickly in this one.

They notched their first marker in the opening period of the finals as they took advantage turnover deep in North Bay territory as Darcy Casola snapped a quick shot past Greg Dodds just 33 seconds after the face-off.

The score stayed that way until four minutes into the third period when Ritchie darted the length of the ice before cutting hard from right to left before wiring the puck just under the cross bar.

North Bay would dash Joel Horodziejczyk’s shutout bid with 4:51 remaining in regulation as Duane Wainman intercepted a clearing attempt in the Soo zone and fed Brennen Dubchak in front, who had an easy tap-in, to make it 2-1.

Pressing for the tying tally in the late going, North Bay yanked Dodds in favour of an extra attacker, but Casola turned the tables by scoring into the empty net with 22 seconds to go to round out the scoring with his second of the game.

Horodziejczyk made 24 saves pick up the win while Dodds stopped 16 in a losing cause.

Should the Thunderbirds come away victorious on Monday then game 7 will go Wednesday back in North Bay at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Gardens.

NOJHL Playoffs: Finals
Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy
Trappers lead best-of-seven series 3-2

Game 1: Soo 3 North Bay 2
Game 2: North Bay 2 Soo 1 (OT)
Game 3: North Bay 5 Soo 2
Game 4: North Bay 2 Soo 0
Game 5: Soo 3 North Bay 1
Game 6:
April 22 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes C.C.)
Game 7*: April 24 @ North Bay 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Gardens)

*-if necessary