Thunderbirds take Game 1 of NOJHL final by blanking Gold Miners 3-0


Release Date: Friday, April 15, 2016

Thunderbirds take Game 1 of NOJHL final by blanking Gold Miners 3-0

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Caleb Boman power play goal with 22 seconds remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds blanked the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 3-0 Friday night in a lengthy Game 1 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy championship series at Essar Centre.

Game 2 in this best-of-seven match-up goes Saturday at Essar Centre and will get underway at 7 p.m.

After an issue with the glass during warm-up delayed the start of the contest the Thunderbirds carried the play in a scoreless first frame, outshooting the Gold Miners 13-3 in the session but they could not solve Kirkland Lake starter Joe Marcoullier.

The middle stanza saw the T-Birds control the action through the first half of the period, but once again Marcoullier was equal to the task.

Midway through the contest the glass was once again dislodged, which cause a long break while repairs were made before the game would continue.

Once the puck dropped to restart the match-up, it remained all Soo as they held the visitors to no shots in the period while pumping 17 of their own on Marcoullier.

The Thunderbirds did finally get once past Marcoullier late in that second frame as Boman buried the eventual difference maker at 19:38.

The T-Birds added some insurance with 4:56 to go in the third as Boman unleashed a point blast that was redirected in Drake Pilon.

Kirkland Lake pulled their goalkeeper with two and a half minutes to go in favour of an extra attacker, but Zach Senecal iced it with an empty net effort after a turnover near the Gold Miners blueline allowed the Soo rookie to slide the puck into the open cage to round out the scoring at 18:43.

Final shots in the contest favoured the Soo by a 39-11 margin with Connor Ryckman posting his league-leading fifth shutout of the playoffs.

NOJHL championship
For the Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Sault Ste. Marie leads best-of-seven series 1-0
Game 1: Sault Ste. Marie 3 Kirkland Lake 0
Game 2: Saturday, April 16 Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 3: Thursday, April 21 @ Kirkland Lake 7 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac Community Complex)
Game 4: Friday, April 22 @ Kirkland Lake 7 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac Community Complex)
Game 5*: Sunday, April 24 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Tuesday, April 26 @ Kirkland Lake 7 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac Community Complex)
Game 7*: Thursday, April 28 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
*- if necessary