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T-Birds Fly into Semis

James Anthony for local2 sault ste. marie
May 11th, 2012 at 7:22am | Last Updated May 12th, 2012 at 11:19am



SOO THUNDERBIRDSThe Soo Thunderbirds defeated the Woodstock Slammers Thursday afternoon 7-4 despite being outshot 35-19.

The victory means the Soo will face the Penticton Vees in Saturday’s late semifinal (8 p.m. E.T), while the Slammers will have to wait for the outcome of Thursday night’s preliminary round finale between Portage and Humboldt to find out if they’ll play again this season.

A Humboldt victory would give the Slammers a semifinal spot, while a win by the Terriers puts Portage in the semifinals and leaves Woodstock on the outside looking in.

Matt Amadio and Kevin Michelcavage also scored twice, while James Delayer, Brett Campbell and Nick Romano had the other goals for the Soo (2-2), which had scored five goals in its first three games combined before exploding for five in a span of 8:19 in the first period.

John Kleinhans made another 30 saves for the Thunderbirds, giving him a remarkable 181 stops on 193 shots in four games – an average of 45.25 saves per game and a .938 save percentage. His Thursday save total was the lowest of his four games; he stopped 44 shots against Penticton, 68 against Portage and 39 against Humboldt.

Colton Stairs, Jake Logan, Connor Tresham and Bradley Greene scored the goals for Woodstock, which could have assured itself a semifinal spot with a win. Instead, it will wait and see whether or not it will be the first Maritime Hockey League champions to reach the final four since Halifax in 2002.

Despite their disastrous start the Slammers pulled to within two at 6-4 with 5:20 to go, but Michelcavage's second goal of the game into an empty net with 73 seconds to go sealed the Thunderbirds’ win.

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