Opening night, round two

March 17, 2017

Living up to its billed hype, the Twin Soo border battle was all that as the second round of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League playoff show opened on Thursdsay night.

Showing road resolve after surrendering a 2-0 lead, Soo Eagles overcame a late 3-2 deficit to tie the game before eventually stealing a 4-3 double-overtime triumph over Soo Thunderbirds before a couple of hundred fans at John Rhodes Community Centre.

After a scoreless 20-minute first overtime, Eagles defenseman Matt Meininger ended the see-saw drama with the deciding goal at 1:25 of the second OT.

The Eagles had taken a 2-0 first period lead as Adam Ostrowski and Brent Jones found range before the Thunderbirds tied it with second stanza tallies by Zachary Senecal and Keenan Eddy.

The 2-2 tie held up until midway through the third period when Senecal potted his second of the night to give the Thunderbirds their first lead of the night.

But with just under two minutes to play in the third, Jake Saxton tied the score for the Eagles to set up an overtime marathon, much to the delight of a good number of Michigan Soo fans who made the trek across the International Bridge.

Both teams had Grade A scoring chances in the first OT, particularly the Thunderbirds who twice went on the power play thanks to a pair of questionable, border-line calls against the Eagles.

The Thunderbirds were denied by a combination of good saves by Eagles goalie Kade Phipps and just missing the net with shots from in close. But the best scoring chance came late in the initial OT when Eagles forward Roman Gaudet took a cross-ice feed and wired a close-in howitzer only to be thwarted via spectacular save by Thunderbirds goalie Brandon Gordon.

Gaudet was a looming factor throughout the match and assisted on the tieing and winning goals for the Eagles.

And while they did not figure in on the score sheet, second-year forward Jake Palmerio and rookie defenseman Carmen Scarfone were noticeably effective for the Eagles. Palmerio was relentless on the penalty kill and won several one-on-one puck-possession battles while Scarfone stood tall with gall on the Eagles blueline.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is slated for Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Rhodes Centre.


Playing at home, the Beavers took a 1-0 lead in their series with the Canadians.

The Beavers went up 4-0 and never looked back en route to the decisive triumph.

Forward Yianni Liarakos had a three-point night and retread goalie Aidan Doak — rescued from the Ontario Jr. Hockey League unwanted list in mid season — made 35 saves for the Beavers as he carried on his strong play since moving to Blind River.

Game 2 in the series is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Blind River.


A shorthanded goal by Konnar Dechaine late in the second period stood up as the game winner and the Crunch took a 1-0 series lead on the visiting Rock.

Cochrane added a third-period shorthanded marker by Brandon McReynolds to seal the deal.

Game 2 is Saturday in Cochrane at 7:30 p.m.


The other second-round playoff series begins tonight when the regular-season champion Voodoos play host to the Gold Miners in a 7:00 match.

PHOTO: Opening-game action between the visiting Soo Eagles and Soo Thunderbirds. (Photo by Jim Egan.)

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