SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Matthew Bazarin tallied twice while Steven Bellini dished out a trio of assists as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to skate past the Blind River Beavers 6-3 Sunday in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at John Rhodes Community Centre.
With the result, Sault Ste. Marie now leads this best-of-seven affair 2-0 with the series now shifting to the Blind River Community Centre for Game 3 Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The first power play of the night helped the Thunderbirds open the scoring as Bazarin supplied his first of the evening at 8:38.
Action late in the frame saw the Soo go up by a pair on a Lucas Theriault effort at 19:18.
Battling back in the middle stanza, Blind River countered by scoring twice on man advantage markers from Caleb Serre and Justin Mauro.
However, Nick Smith put the home side back on top 50 seconds after the Mauro goal thanks to another power play chance.
Spencer Van Tiem then made it 4-2 Soo less than a minute later before Nash Hatcher pulled the visitors back to within one at 14:31.
Heading to the third period, Bazarin added some insurance at 7:37 before Nolan Ford iced it for the Thunderbirds by putting one into an empty net to round out the night’s scoring.
Along with Bellini’s trio of helpers, Noah Boman chipped in with a pair of assists in the triumph for the Soo.
Shots on goal in the contest saw the Beavers hold the edge by a 37-36 count with Colin Ahern registering the win while Garret Boyonoski suffered the loss.
West Division semifinal
No. 1 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 4 Blind River Beavers
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Thunderbirds 4 Beavers 2
Game 2: Thunderbirds 6 Beavers 3
Game 3: Tuesday, March 19 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
Game 4: Friday, March 22 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
Game 5*: Sunday, March 24 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 6*: Tuesday, March 26 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 27 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin – SSM Photos