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Thunderbirds take series lead over Beavers

Thursday, March 20, 2014   by: Brad Coccimiglio

It was a matter of time before the Soo Thunderbirds broke out offensively in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs and Thursday was that night.

The Thunderbirds beat the Blind River Beavers 6-0 Thursday in game three of their first round series at the Essar Centre, giving the regular season champs a 2-1 series lead.

After skating through a scoreless opening period, the Thunderbirds broke the game open with five goals in the second period, outshooting the Beavers 20-3 in the process, en route to the win.

The Thunderbirds saw six different players pick up goals in the win. Defenceman Owen Headrick led the way with a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds offensively. David Radke and Brett Jeffries added a goal and an assist each in the win. Eric Hilock, Anthony Miller and Joey Miller also scored for the locals.

Thunderbirds goaltender Brian Kment stopped 16 shots for the shutout.

Jesse Morin, who was strong for Blind River in the opening two games, stopped 24 of 29 shots before being pulled following the Thunderbirds fifth goal in the second period. Dylan Knox came in and stopped 14 of 15 shots in the final 24 minutes of action for the Beavers.

Game four is set for Blind River on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Game five is Sunday night in Sault Ste. Marie, also at 7:30 p.m.

Around the NOJHL, the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners booked their ticket to the second round with a four-game sweep of the North Bay Trappers. The Espanola Rivermen also swept their first round series, moving on after beating the Sudbury Nickel Barons in four games. The other series still in action sees the Elliot Lake Bobcats leading the Abitibi Eskimos 2-1 heading into game four on Friday night in Elliot Lake.

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