PHOTOS: Caleigh Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds picked up two goals apiece from Wyatt Marlow and Jackson Truchan to help send them on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Greater Sudbury Cubs Thursday night in the opening game of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division final, held at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
The visiting Thunderbirds provided the initial tally of the series, 13:20 into the contest, as Daniel Beaupre came down the right wing a sent a long cross-ice pass over to Marlow, who fired a shot past Cubs’ netminder Noah Metivier from inside the left circle.
A late power play helped Sault Ste. Marie take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission off a nice rush that saw Dharan Cap set-up Truchan, who easily steered in his fifth of the playoffs into an open net.
Up a skater themselves near the midway mark of the match-up, Greater Sudbury got on the board when Samuel Assinewai finished off a goal-mouth scramble by jamming one past Thunderbirds’ goalkeeper Landon Miller.
Another late-period strike by Truchan helped send the Soo to the dressing up by a pair after 40 minutes as he banged in his second of the evening off a Marlow shot that hit off the end boards and came right out to the surging Thunderbirds forward who leads all NOJHL skaters in playoff scoring with 14 points.
Extending their edge early in the final frame, the T-Birds blocked a shot and countered in transition on an odd-man rush that was finished off by Marlow, who tucked in his second of the night on Metivier.
Greater Sudbury pulled to within a pair on a two-on-one where Billy Biedermann fed Oliver Smith, who went top shelf over the blocker of Miller, with 12:17 to play.
Pushing hard to get closer, the Cubs had a late power play and their goalie out for an additional skater, however the Soo held firm defensively, then capped off the road triumph in the final moments as Marlow sent a pass over to Cap, who scored into the empty net to give him goals in six straight playoff contests.
Game goes Friday back in Sudbury at 7:05 p.m. and on HockeyTV.com.
NOJHL West Division Final
Game 1: Thunderbirds 5 Cubs 2
Game 2: Friday, April 7 @ Sudbury 7:05 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 3: Monday, April 10 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 4: Tuesday, April 11 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 5*: Thursday, April 13 @ Sudbury 7:05 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 6*: Saturday, April 15 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 7*: Tuesday, April 18 @ Sudbury 7:05 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Soo leads best-of-seven series 1-0