GALLERY: Surprising Eagles go up 2-0 on Thunderbirds



Release Date: Saturday, March 18, 2017

Surprising Eagles go up 2-0 on Thunderbirds

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Jake Cimarusti’s goal with 6:47 remaining in regulation lifted the Soo Eagles to a 4-3 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds Saturday in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at the John Rhodes Community Centre.

With the result the Eagles now hold a surprising 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven affair heading into Game 3 Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Saturday’s contest saw the Eagles, who finished 31 points behind the Thunderbirds at the end of the regular season, never trail in this one and began with the night’s opening tally from Jake Saxton at 2:23.

Zach Senecal tied it for the T-Birds at 14:14, but the visitors came right back to go regain the lead a couple shifts later on a Jacob Palmerio effort.

The Eagles then went up by two, midway through the second stanza, as Bradley Hofelich scored on a man advantage opportunity.

Battling back, the Thunderbirds pulled close before the frame was complete compliments of Keegan Stevenson with two minutes left.

Greg Smith then leveled the proceedings for the home side at 5:45 of the third, but the opportunistic Eagles picked up the game-winner from Cimarusti to pull out the triumph.

The Thunderbirds pressed for the equalizer, but could not solve Eagles starter Kade Phipps, who made 16 third period saves, as well as 37 overall earn the win.

Chris Murphy had a big night for the Eagles dishing out three assists, including on the difference maker.

Brandon Gordon faced 31 shots in defeat for the Thunderbirds.

West Division semifinal (Series E)
No. 1 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 4 Soo Eagles
Eagles lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Eagles 4 Thunderbirds 3 (2OT)
Game 2: Eagles 4 Thunderbirds 3
Game 3: Wednesday, March 22 @ Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 4: Friday, March 24 @ Eagles 7:30 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 25 @ Thunderbirds 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, March 27 @ Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 29 @ Thunderbirds 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
*- if necessary

Photos by Rod Aubertin