T-Birds extend series

March 25, 2018

Soo Thunderbirds stared elimination straight in the eyes on Saturday and did not flinch. Eric Schuch made 27 saves and rookie forward Camaryn Baber made a triumphant return to the lineup as the T-Birds forced a sixth game in their Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League playoff series with the Soo Eagles.

Playing at home before a crowded house at John Rhodes Community Centre, the Thunderbirds shrugged off back-to-back 3-0 shutouts to post a 3-0 blanking of their own.

The Eagles now lead the best-of-seven West Division semi-final three games to two. Game 6 is slated for Monday night at 7:00 at Pullar Stadium in the Michigan Soo.

After a score-less opening period, the Thunderbirds finally beat Eagles goalie Carter McPhail, who allowed his first goal in more than 190 minutes — dating back to Game 2 — when Kaiden McDonald gave the home side a 1-0 lead.

The Thunderbirds then went up 2-0 in the second stanza when the aforementioned Baber — who had been sidelined since the first week of March with a concussion — found the back of the net. Baber — a top prospect of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League — was a going concern throughout the match with a relentless effort.

The Thunderbirds put the game on ice late in the third period on a goal by Mark Tassone.

As the T-Birds played an outstanding all-around team game, 2001 birth-year defenseman Tristano Cicchello stood out on the blue-line with the poise of a veteran rather than the panic of a rookie.

PHOTO: Action from Game 5 on Saturday between the Thunderbirds and Eagles.

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