SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Eagles withstood a late push from the Soo Thunderbirds to pull out a narrow 4-3 triumph in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Friday at John Rhodes Community Centre.
First period play saw neither side score in a tightly-contested session.
Moving on to the middle stanza, the Eagles opened the scoring past the midway point of the frame as Dominic Skrelja connected on the power play to put the visitors in front.
They then went up by a pair at 13:47 thanks to Brendan Blair, who notched his 14th tally of the campaign.
The Thunderbirds got on the board late in the second as Lucas Theriault buried his team-leading 31st to make it a 2-1 game after 40 minutes.
Moving on to the third, the Eagles added to their cushion as Riley Jensen put one in at 7:40 before Kobe Keller scored on the power play four minutes later.
Battling back, the Thunderbirds moved closer with four and a half minutes remaining on a Brendan Miller marker then added another, via the power play, at 17:31 off the stick of Nick Smith to draw within a goal.
However, the Eagles held on from there to preserve the road victory.
Keller added a pair of assists to go with his goal for a three-point night while teammate Hayden Clark had a pair of helpers as did Noah Boman of the Thunderbirds.
Eagles’ goaltender Shane Brancato faced 32 shots to record the win while Colin Ahern handled 25 of 29 in defeat for the Thunderbirds.
The two rivals will finish off a weekend home-and-home set Saturday at Pullar Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
Game Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin – SSM Photos