Soo Thunderbirds will take to the playoff trail beginning tonight when they play host to the Blind River Beavers.
Start time in what is Game 1 in the first-round, best-of-seven, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League playoff series is 7:30 p.m. at Essar Centre.
The Thunderbirds finished atop the NOJHL regular-season standings with 99 points — 74 more than eighth-seeded Blind River.
Featuring a trio of first-team all-stars in goalie Joel Horodziejczyk, defenceman Tyler Jones and centre Gavin Burbach, the Thunderbirds are a well-coached, well-put-together team.
The cellar-dwelling Beavers from Blind River should not be taken lightly — and the Thunderbirds have no intention of doing so, according to coach Jordan Smith and general manager Kevin Cain.
The Beavers, to be sure, are not without high-end players led by 20-goal scorer Tyson MacLeod and goalies Dylan Knox and Jessie Morin.
Elsewhere, playoffs in the other three series began on Friday night with the home side victorious in each instance.
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners defeated North Bay Trappers 3-1, Espanola Rivermen doubled up Sudbury Nickel Barons 6-3 and Abitibi Eskimos edged Elliot Lake Bobcats 2-1.