Soo Thunderbirds and Rayside Balfour Canadians will meet in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League West Division finals for the second straight season. Following is a prelude to the best-of-seven playoff series.
The no. 1 seed Thunderbirds advanced to the finals after defeating the no. 4 seed Blind River Beavers four games to two in the semi-finals.
And no. 2 seed Rayside Balfour ousted the no. 3 seed Soo Eagles four games to two in their semi-final set.
Head-to-head, during the 2018-2019 regular season, the Soo took five of eight games from Rayside Balfour.
During the course of the season, the Thunderbirds and Canadians met eight times, with the Soo winning five times.
Five of the eight games were decided by one goal, including one in overtime and two via the shootout, while two other matches were clinched with empty-net markers.
Individually, veteran forward Lucas Theriault had four goals, eight assists, 12 points for the Soo in the eight regular-season games against Rayside Balfour.
As for Rayside Balfour in its games against the Soo, Brady Maltais, Jett Leishman and Kyle Liinamaa had six points apiece to lead the Canadians.
Schedule of games:
Game 1: Saturday, March 30 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 2: Sunday, March 31 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 3: Wednesday, April 3 @ Rayside-Balfour 7 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 4: Thursday, April 4 @ Rayside-Balfour 7 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 5*: Saturday, April 6 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (GFL Memorial Gardens)
Game 6*: Monday, April 8 @ Rayside-Balfour 7 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 10 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
(* if necessary.)