It will be the first-place teams from the East Division and the West Division facing off for the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship.
Hearst Lumberjacks, who finished atop the East Division standings during the regular season, then made it through two rounds of the playoffs, upending the Timmins Rock and Powassan Voodoos.
Soo Thunderbirds, who placed first in the West Division standings during the regular season, subsequently sidelined the Blind River Beavers and Rayside-Balfour Canadians to earn their way into the NOJHL finals against Hearst.
The best-of-seven championship series will begin in Sault Ste. Marie later this week.
The Thunderbirds finished first overall in the 12-team NOJHL over the course of the regular season. Coach John Parco’s Thunderbirds amassed a regular-season mark of 44-11-1, good for 89 points.
Hearst took first in the hotly-contested East with 73 points from a record of 33-16-7.
Both teams met twice during the regular season, albeit several months ago. The Thunderbirds won 4-3 in the Soo on October 27 and the Lumberjacks took a 3-0 decision in Hearst on November 2.
Hearst will take a seven-game playoff winning streak into the finals against the Soo and Lumberjacks coach-general manager Marc Lafleur says key moments could determine the outcome of the championship series.
“For us to continue to have success we’re going to have to play better away from the puck and do the little right things all the time,” Lafleur told Hockey News North.
“Games could very well be determined by a few key moments and the team that wins those moments will win the league championship,” Lafleur added. “These will be two teams who work very hard every night and push the pace. Fans will be in for some good hockey.”