Thunderbirds’ Ryckman shuts out Eagles in Game 2 victory


Release Date: Monday, March 21, 2016

Thunderbirds’ Ryckman shuts out Eagles in Game 2 victory

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds saw goaltender Connor Ryckman stop all 14 shots he faced for his first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff shutout while his teammates scored twice in each period as they clipped the Soo Eagles 6-0 Monday evening in Game 2 of their West Division semifinal at Essar Centre.

With the result, the Thunderbirds now lead this best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Like in their Game 1 triumph over the Eagles, the Thunderbirds came out fast, striking twice in a 16-second span before the contest was four minutes old as Darian Pilon and Jaren Bellini both notched their first goals of the postseason to chase Eagles starter Cam Bruggrabe early in favour of Jack Deines.

The T-Birds added to their cushion 5:30 into the middle frame when Pilon picked up his second goal of the night and then added another late as Joey Miller’s effort eluded Deines with 19 seconds left in the period.

Matthew Mitchell put the game away for the Thunderbirds just past the three-minute point of the third as he supplied some insurance for the home side while Matt Pinder wrapped things up at 9:01 thanks to a power play conversion.

Michael Caruso and Caleb Boman dished out two assists each to aid the T-Birds cause.

Bruggrabe saw six shots in a brief losing cause for the Eagles while Deines faced 38 attempts in a lengthy relief stint.

West Division semifinal
No. 1 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 4 Soo Eagles
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Thunderbirds 9 Eagles 3
Game 2: Thunderbirds 6 Eagles 0
Game 3: Wednesday, March 23 @ Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 4: Friday, March 25 @ Eagles 7:30 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 5*: Sunday, March 27 @ Thunderbirds 2 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, March 28 @ Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 30 @ Thunderbirds 7 p.m. (T.B.A.)
*- if necessary

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