Wildcats stave off elimination and force Game 5 vs. Soo



Release Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wildcats stave off elimination and force Game 5 vs. Soo

ELLIOT LAKE – The Elliot Lake Wildcats clawed their way back from a one-goal deficit in the third period by scoring four times and pull out a 5-3 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds Wednesday in Game 4 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division final at Centennial Arena.

With the result the Wildcats forced a Game 5, which goes Saturday at Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie starting at 7:30 p.m., with the Thunderbirds leading the best-of-seven affair 3-1.

Facing a must-win to keep their season alive, Elliot Lake opened Game 4 scoring 16:33 into the contest as Shane Woolsey notched his second of the playoffs.

The Soo pulled even midway through the second as Anthony Miller struck shorthanded to level the proceedings at 1-1.

The Thunderbirds then took the lead in the waning moments of the frame as Matt Pinder connected with 34 seconds remaining in the stanza.

The Wildcats would tie it early in the third, via the power play, as Elliot Lake defenceman Kyle Salmon unleashed a shot from the left point that beat Soo start Brian Kment at 2:25.

The home side then went back in front as D-man David Chiarelli’s blast from the right side found its way through a crowd and past Kment at 8:22.

Up a man, Elliot Lake added to their cushion 42 seconds later as Cole Hepler was levelled with a hit, but not before feeding Connor Scott, who snapped one into the top left hand corner at 9:04.

An Owen Headrick cannon from the slot with 1:41 to go brought the visitors to within one as they pressed the attack in an attempt to force overtime.

The Thunderbirds then pulled Kment in the final minute for an extra skater, but it was Elliot Lake’s Adam Baxter who iced it with an empty netter and send the series back to Sault Ste. Marie for Game 5 Saturday.

A.J. Smith made 41 stops to record the win for the Wildcats while Kment saw 24 shots fired his way in defeat.

NOJHL West Division final
No. 1 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 4 Elliot Lake Wildcats
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 3-1
Game 1: Sault Ste. Marie 5 Elliot Lake 2
Game 2: Soo 5 Elliot Lake 2
Game 3: Soo 5 Elliot Lake 0
Game 4: Elliot Lake 5 Soo 3
Game 5: Saturday, April 4 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, April 6 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 8 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
*-if necessary