Chaffay lifts Thunderbirds over Eagles in OT


SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds got the game-tying tally in the latter stages of regulation, as well as the game-winner in overtime, from Michael Chaffay as part of a narrow 3-2 triumph over the rival Soo Eagles Saturday in an intense Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Saturday at John Rhodes Community Centre.

The Thunderbirds also got off to a good start as they opened the scoring a minute and a half into things when Jackson Truchan redirected in a low James Kearney attempt from the point for his 21st tally of the season, in beating Eagles’ starter Kameron Ragon.

Getting the equalizer at 16:43 of the first, Nolan Hendry went to the net and chipped in a loose puck, after an initial save, over a sprawled Maverick Fletcher, who was making his NOJHL debut in net for the T-Birds.

The visitors then clicked on a late man advantage to take a 2-1 lead into the intermission when Hunter Friesen capped off a goal-mouth scramble.

Following a scoreless second stanza, the Eagles carried their one-goal edge into the third.

There, the hometown Thunderbirds tied it with under six minutes remaining in regulation as Chaffay whipped a shot over Ragon’s glove from between the hashmarks.

Then on a power play in the extra session, Chaffay won it as he sent the decider over the glove of a screened Ragon with a sizzling wrister from inside the right circle to end it.

For Chaffay, the difference maker was the eighth GWG of his NOJHL career.

As for Fletcher, the goalkeeper gets the win in his initial league encounter in helping the Thunderbirds improve to 29-11-2-2.

Ragon’s efforts meanwhile helped the Eagles pick up a point in the standings as they went to 18-19-4-1.