Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A Seth Ferguson power play goal early in the third period proved to the game-winner Saturday evening as the Soo Eagles defeated the Greater Sudbury Cubs 4-3 in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Pullar Stadium.
With the result, the Eagles now lead the best-of-seven affair 2-0, heading into Game 3 Monday night at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in Sudbury at 7 p.m.
After knocking down a clearing attempt deep in Greater Sudbury territory, Sault Ste. Marie took full advantage as Jacob Swiatek set-up Jack Mortson, who whipped one upstairs on Cubs’ netminder Joel Rainville at 15:21 with a marker in the initial frame.
Heading to the middle session, the visitors tied it while on an early power play as a Billy Biedermann attempt from up high found its way to the stick of Josh Boucher in front, who lifted in the equalizer over a sprawling Ryan Gilmore in the Eagles’ net.
Coming back to regain the lead midway through the match-up, Friday’s overtime hero, Alex Freund scored once more for the Soo after Swiatek took a play wide and fired it in front and he corralled the loose puck and finished it off from the left side.
Converting once more via the man advantage, Greater Sudbury drew level when Kyler Campbell snapped a low shot that managed to get through Gilmore and trickle across the goal line before teammate Nicholas Toffoli would make sure it was in.
A third Cubs’ special teams effort gave them their first lead of the night as Campbell clicked shorthanded at 15:46 when he finished off a perfect two-on-one with Pierson Sobush after breaking out of their own zone while down a skater.
Battling back to even the score late in the period, the Soo broke out in numbers and saw Marc LaFrance send Mortson in on Rainville where he made no mistake for his second of the night, which came at 18:15.
In the third, the Eagles got the go-ahead marker from Ferguson while they were on the power play as the forward took a pass from Chase Tallaire and skated into the high slot where he wired a shot over Rainville’s blocker with 16:46 remaining in regulation.
The Cubs got their goalkeeper out for an extra skater with a minute and a half to go in an effort to knot the score and send it to overtime, however a late penalty call against them ended that as the Soo ran out the clock from there to wrap-up the home ice triumph.
NOJHL West Division semifinal
Soo Eagles vs. Greater Sudbury Cubs
Soo leads best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Eagles 5 Cubs 4 (OT)
Game 2: Eagles 4 Cubs 3
Game 3: Monday, April 11 @ Greater Sudbury 7 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 4: Tuesday, April 12 @ Greater Sudbury 7 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 5*: Wednesday, April 13 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 6*: Friday, April 15 @ Greater Sudbury 7 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 7*: Saturday, April 16 @ Soo 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel