SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The standout goaltending of Carter McPhail of the Soo Eagles continued Friday evening as he posted his second consecutive 3-0 shutout of the Soo Thunderbirds in Game 4 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Pullar Stadium.
The win now gives the Eagles a commanding 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven affair with Game 5 set to go Saturday at John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., at 7:30 p.m.
McPhail’s stalwart netminding has now seen him not allow a goal against vs. the rival Thunderbirds in the series in the past 158 minutes and 43 seconds of game action.
The home team kicked off the night’s scoring 7:15 into the contest as Kyle Quinn collected his first goal of the playoffs as the Eagles carried the 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
After a scoreless middle session, the Eagles added another during a third period power play with Hayden Clark collecting his initial postseason tally at 11:07.
The Thunderbirds then pulled starter Eric Schuch in an effort to get back into it in the late going, but Austin Rowe sealed the outcome with an empty net marker with a half minute to go to finish off the home ice win.
McPhail turned aside all 27 shots he faced in adding another shutout while Schuch stopped 23 of 25 in defeat.
West Division semifinal
No. 2 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 3 Soo Eagles
Eagles leads best-of-seven series 3-1
Game 1: Thunderbirds 4 Eagles 3 (OT)
Game 2: Eagles 3 Thunderbirds 2
Game 3: Eagles 3 Thunderbirds 0
Game 4: Eagles 3 Thunderbirds 0
Game 5: Saturday, March 24 @ Thunderbirds 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, March 26 @ Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game7*: Wednesday, March 28 @ Thunderbirds 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
*- if necessary