NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Thunderbirds – Nickel Barons semifinal preview
SUDBURY — Just one night after wrapping up first round postseason play in the Northern Ontario Junior League, round two begins tonight as the Soo Thunderbirds host the Sudbury Nickel Barons in game 1 of their best-of-seven series, which gets underway at Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie at 7:30 p.m.
The following is a preview of the series between the two NOJHL rivals.
Game 2 in this match-up slated for Saturday at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff and also sees a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.
The Soo will return to Essar Centre for game 3 on April 2 with the two sides returning to the Nickel Barons home venue the following evening, April 3 for game 4.
If required game 5 will go April 5 in Sault Ste. Marie, game 6 April 8 with Sudbury as the home side and back at Essar Centre game 7, again if needed.
All three games would get underway at 7:30 p.m.
NOJHL Playoffs: Round 2
No. 2 Soo Thunderbirds vs. 3 Sudbury Nickel Barons
Game 1: Thursday, March 28 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 2: Saturday, March 30 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
Game 3: Tuesday, April 2 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 3 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
Game 5*: Friday, April 5 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, April 8 @ Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (McClelland Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 10 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
* – if necessary
The two sides met a total of eight times during the course of the regular season with each team winning four games including two triumphs at home and a couple more as the visitors.
The Thunderbirds took the first couple contests before the Barons stormed back to take the next four while the Soo rebounded to capture the last two meetings.
It was the T-Birds who scored 31 goals in the eight get togethers while Sudbury found the back of the net 18 times with each side netting nine tallies apiece on the power play.
It was a well balance attack that saw eight different skaters notch the game-winning goal.
Leading the Sault Ste. Marie point parade vs. Sudbury in this those eight regular season meetings was the duo of Brandon Warmington and Derek Battagin each notching seven points apiece while Darcy Casola and Adam Ritchie were next with six.
Injured Sudbury forward Sebastien Leroux was the top point getter for his side in action against the Soo picking up eight points.
Darcy Haines was next with three tallies and three assists.
Netminder Steven Dombrowski was 3-0 vs. the Nickel Barons while NOJHL rookie of the year Joel Horodziejczyk went 1-4.
Sudbury’s Alex Laino had a 4-2 mark against the T-Bird while Mike Muzyka was 0-2.
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Sudbury Nickel Barons
2012-13 regular season meetings
Oct. 3 @ Sudbury (4-1 Thunderbirds)
Oct. 27 @ Soo (10-1 Thunderbirds)
Dec. 5 @ Sudbury (2-1 Nickel Barons)
Dec. 21 @ Soo (3-2 Nickel Barons)
Jan. 23 @ Sudbury (3-1 Nickel Barons)
Feb. 23 @ Soo (5-2 Nickel Barons)
March 6 @ Sudbury (4-0 Thunderbirds)
March 10 @ Soo (7-3 Thunderbirds)
The last time the towns of Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury met in NOJHL playoff action was back in 2008 when the then Sudbury Jr. Wolves surprised the first place Thunderbirds by taking a best-of-seven semifinal 4-2 before going on to sweep Abitibi in the final.
They also met in 2007 with the Jr. Wolves taking another semifinal series 4-1.
In 2001 it was the Thunderbirds who topped the Northern Wolves in four straight in semifinal play.
The winner of this series will meet the survivor of the North Bay Trappers – Kirkland Lake Gold Miners best-of-seven affair for the NOJHL championship.