CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Noah Boman had a hat trick and extended a point streak to five straight outings to propel the Soo Thunderbirds to a convincing 6-1 triumph over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians Wednesday night in Game 3 of their West Division Final at Chelmsford Arena.
In picking up the victory, Sault Ste. Marie now leads this best-of-seven affair 2-1 with Game 4 slated for Thursday back in Chelmsford at 7 p.m.
The Soo started strong, skating to a 2-0 lead after one as Boman and Brendan Miller both connected in the session.
The Thunderbirds added two more in the middle frame to extend the cushion with Kaidan McDonald striking from the slot midway through the period before Boman banked one in from the right of Rayside-Balfour netminder David Bowen, who gave way to Sebastien Plamondon after that marker, which came during a man advantage.
On the power play to begin the third, the Soo struck again 22 seconds in as Boman finished off his three-goal night by knocking in a cross-crease feed from Matthew Bazarin.
Tyler Malpass then put the visitors up by six as he one-timed a blast from the right faceoff circle that went short side on Plamondon.
The Canadians ended Soo starter Colin Ahern’s shutout bid with 8:15 remaining as Ethan Lavallee picked up his first of the playoffs with a left point effort.
Lucas Theriault supplied three assists to compliment the Thunderbirds triumph.
Ahern finished with 30 stops in picking up the win.
Bowen suffered the setback, allowing four on 25 attempts while Plamondon handled 17 of 19 in relief.
NOJHL West Division Final
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 2-1
Game 1: Soo 4 Rayside-Balfour 1
Game 2: Rayside-Balfour 4 Soo 3 (OT)
Game 3: Soo 6 Rayside-Balfour 1
Game 4: Thursday, April 4 @ Rayside-Balfour 7 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 5: Saturday, April 6 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (GFL Memorial Gardens)
Game 6*: Monday, April 8 @ Rayside-Balfour 7 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 10 @ Sault Ste. Marie 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)