Thunderbirds and Rock
April 14, 2023
Reigning champion Soo Thunderbirds will be out to try to defend their Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League title when they face the Timmins Rock in a best-of-seven final to decide this season’s prime time victor.
Both teams advanced to the NOJHL championship series in relatively quick fashion. The Thunderbirds, who finished third in the West Division, ousted both the no. 2 seed Blind River Beavers and no. 1 seed Sudbury Cubs in five games, flying to a record of 8-2. The Rock, which finished atop the East Division, disposed of the no. 4 seed French River Rapids in five games before sweeping the third-place Powassan Voodoos in four straight en route to an 8-1 record.
Over the course of the regular season, Timmins skated to 45-8-5 record for 95 points. The Soo, meanwhile, put up 78 points from a record of 36-15-6. But the Thunderbirds played in a West end that was much, much stronger than the East side.
Timmins will have home-ice advantage for the series. But it should be noted that the Thunderbirds are unbeaten on the road in this spring’s playoffs with six straight wins. So, don’t let anyone associated with the Thunderbirds try to suggest that they are underdogs in this series.
Key players: Forwards Dharan Cap, Jackson Truchan, Wyatt Marlow, Youssef Chaouachi and Justin Mauro, defensemen Kaden Dundas, Austin Fellinger, Brodie McConnell-Barker and Ramon Joseph and goalie Landon Miller.
Key players: Forwards Nic Pigeon, Brady Harroun, Nolan Ring, Lucas Piekarczyk, Nick Frederick and Ethan Pool, defensemen Kenyon Nyman, Brandon Rossetti and Kyle Trottier and goalie Patrick Boivin. Of note, Harroun, Piekarczyk, Pool, Nyman and Rossetti were all part of a Superior International Jr. Hockey League championship team last season as members of the Red Lake Miners.
Game 1: Thursday, April 20 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 2: Friday, April 21 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 3: Sunday, April 23 @ Soo 6 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 4: Monday, April 24 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 5: Wednesday, April 26 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 6: Sunday, April 30 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 7*: Tuesday, May 2 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
* — if necessary