Photos: Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – A Seth Ferguson strike in the third round of the shootout was the decider as the Soo Eagles withstood a late comeback by the Greater Sudbury Cubs to salvage a 4-3 victory Tuesday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest held at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Special teams played a part in the two tallies notched in the opening 20 minutes as each team connected once via the power play.
Greater Sudbury picked up the first one as Jaxon Bedard converted two and a half minutes into the proceedings as he cruised through the slot and neatly redirected Nicholas Toffoli’s attempt from the left point.
Replying with the equalizer, the Eagles drew level late in the first period when Chase Tallaire buried his 24th of the season after taking a Jack Mortson feed from behind the goal line and whipping one in from inside the left face-off circle.
In the middle stanza, it remained tightly-contested as the session went scoreless as they hit the second intermission still square at 1-1.
Moving to the third, Sault Ste. Marie went in front early as Ferguson worked a quick give-and-go with Brian Fiddes, then came off the side-wall and sharply picked the corner on Cubs’ goalkeeper Joel Rainville.
Adding another at 4:54, the Soo’s Carson Van Tighem forced a turnover then went to the net and had a couple of whacks at it before eventually jamming the puck in.
Getting one back with under three minutes remaining in regulation, Greater Sudbury’s Nolan Newton made a nice rush into the Eagles zone then put one back to Christopher Innes up high as the defenceman moved in and wired a shot that beat Eagles’ netminder Gabe Rosek.
Getting Rainville out for an extra attacker, the home side pushed hard to tie it and send it to overtime, and they did just that with 16 seconds to go as Toffoli put one towards the net that redirected off the skate of a Soo defender right to Billy Biedermann, who slammed in the equalizer, for his 17th of the campaign.
The Cubs’ Josh Boucher had a great chance to end it midway through the OT as he was sent in alone on a breakaway, only to be stymied by Rosek.
Heading to the shootout to determine winner Tallaire and Ferguson both converted for the Soo with snap shots into the right hand corner while Innes had one for Sudbury, as his slow rolling deke slid in.
With the win, the Eagles improved to 30-7-2-1 on the year while the Cubs dipped to 23-14-3-1.