T-Birds withstand Gold Miners rally to pull out 3-2 win in DHC semifinal preview




Release Date: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Photo credit: Jean-Rene Daoust, capturingthemoment.ca

T-Birds withstand Gold Miners rally to pull out 3-2 win in DHC semifinal preview

KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – A Matthew Busby power play marker with 2:39 remaining in regulation was the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) withstood a furious third period comeback attempt by the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (Host-NOJHL) to salvage a 3-2 win Thursday in round robin action at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.

Despite the outcome, the same two teams will meet again Friday in the DHC semifinal at 7:30 p.m. back in Kirkland Lake.

Awaiting the winner of that contest will be the unbeaten Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) in Saturday’s Dudley-Hewitt Cup championship game, which also gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

In Thursday’s contest, it was the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League champions from Sault Ste. Marie that got on the board first 2:37 into the contest as Jake Behse fired a shot from the right point that bounced off the shin pads of teammate Jaren Bellini right to Matt Pinder who snapped it past Gold Miners’ starter Tyler Mazzocato.

Action in the middle session saw Kirkland Lake have a glorious opportunity to knot the affair as affiliate Karter Renouf had his stick slashed away on a breakaway and the resulting infraction saw him awarded a penalty shot.

However Brendon Gordon in the Soo net outwaited Renouf who cut left to right on his attempt and easily stopped the shot at 14:49.

Countering, the Thunderbirds came back just under three minutes later went up by a pair as a penalty to them had expired with Bellini feeding Matthew Caruso in the slot, who snapped the puck over the blocker of Mazzocato to make it 2-0 Soo after 40 minutes.

After Victor-Olivier Courchesne came in to start the final frame in net for the Gold Miners, a multitude of penalties incurred by the Soo allowed the host side to go on the power play for much of the first six minutes of the third.

While they did not score on the power play in that lengthy span, the relentless pressure allowed Kirkland Lake to get on the board at 6:27 as Trevor Hester chipped one over top a sprawled Gordon from in close.

The Gold Miners kept coming and were rewarded with the equalizer near the midway point of the stanza as Blake Anderson wired one from the left side that beat the Soo stopper to knot the affair at 2-2.

Heading late into regulation and with overtime looming, it was Busby was picked up the decider and his snapped the winner past Courchesne from the right face-off circle.

The Thunderbirds tightened up from there keeping the pressure on the Gold Miners until the final moments when they had a chance to pull their goaltender in favour of an extra attacker, but time expired before Kirkland Lake could mount a late chance to try and force extra time.

Bellini finished with three assists for the T-Birds as he bolstered their offensive cause.

Finals shots on goal favoured the Soo by a 39-32 count with Gordon picking up the win and Courchesne the loss in relief.

Mazzocato stopped 28 of 30 in two periods of work.

For more information on the Dudley-Hewitt Cup visit the official CJHL – DHC website at centralcanadianchampionship.com.

All Dudley-Hewitt Cup games are available online at FASTHockey.com.

Game Summary

2016 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Schedule/Results
May 3-7 – Kirkland Lake, Ont.
All games at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex

Competing teams
Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (Host-NOJHL)
Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL)
Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL)

Tuesday, May 3
Trenton 4 Soo 2
Kirkland Lake 8 Fort Frances 5

Wednesday, May 4
Soo 6 Fort Frances 5
Trenton 5 Kirkland Lake 1

Thursday, May 5
Trenton 3 Fort Frances 0
Soo 3 Kirkland Lake 2

Friday, May 6
Semifinal: Kirkland Lake vs. Soo 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 7
Final: Soo or Kirkland Lake (Semifinal Winner) vs. Trenton (1st Round Robin) 7:30 p.m.

DHC winner advances to the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship May 14-22 @ Lloydminster, Alta.