A humdrum season ended with a passable effort in defeat for the Soo Major Thunderbirds on Saturday night at John Rhodes Community Centre.
It was the North Bay Major Trappers who continued their unbeaten season within the Great North Midget Hockey League with a 5-2 win over the Soo.
The victory gave the Major Trappers a sweep of their best-of-five, semi-final playoff series with the Major Thunderbirds. North Bay had started the series the previous weekend with a pair of resounding wins, shutting out the Soo by respective scores of 5-0 and 10-0.
Game 3 in the Soo looked as though it would be more of the same as North Bay led 3-0 after the first period. The Major Thunderbirds did not pack it in however and tallied twice in the second stanza to trail by one heading into the final frame.
But in what was a reckless third period that included spearing, slashing and kicking infractions as well as a game misconduct and a match penalty, North Bay scored a pair of goals to close out the game and the series with the 5-2 triumph.
Veteran coach Guy Blanchard and his Major Trappers were the better team throughout the match and were full marks for the win. In fact, North Bay could have won by a wider margin if not for some stellar saves by backup Soo goalie Andrew Uschenko, who got the start in his final game of midget eligibility.
North Bay, which marched through the regular season with a perfect 36-0-0 record, now has a 39-0-0 mark as it heads to the Great North finals led by the coaching prowess of the aforementioned Blanchard. The 59-year old Blanchard, who has also coached with success in the Ontario Hockey League and Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, is widely regarded as one of the top AAA midget coaches in the province.
Back to the series-clincher against the Soo, Joseph Jordan, Gavin Brown, Nathaniel Lalonde, Ben Brunette and Justin Dauphinais scored for the Major Trappers while Cole Delarosbil and Cole Ambeault replied for the Major Thunderbirds.
Thus, the 2018-2019 season is over for the Major Thunderbirds, who compiled a 12-24-0 record during the regular schedule before edging the New Liskeard Cubs two games to one in the opening round of the playoffs.
PHOTO: North Bay Major Trappers head coach Guy Blanchard. (Photo by Sault This Week.)