SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A Ryan Dacks tally early in the second period held up as the game-winner as the Soo Eagles held on to edge the rival Soo Thunderbirds 3-2 Friday in a spirited Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Pullar Stadium.
The hometown Michigan Soo side got the early jump on the surging Thunderbirds by tallying twice in opening frame on markers from Caleb Wood, as the rookie collected his team-leading 15th goal of the campaign midway through the session, and Raf Praysner, who picked up his ninth on the year.
Coming out quickly in the middle session, the Eagles went up by three as Dacks knocked in his second of the season at the 35-second mark of the period.
The Thunderbirds used the power play to get on the board less than four minutes later thanks to Nolan Ford’s sixth with help from Gage Stephney and Tristan Cicchello.
With the helper, Stephney now has at least one point in seven straight games.
Getting another moments into the third, the Thunderbirds pulled to within one 39 seconds in as Lucas Theriault picked up a point in a seventh straight outing as he notched his league-leading 21st tally of the season.
They then had a late two-man advantage, as well as an extra attacker with their goaltender out, to try and tie things up and force overtime, however the Eagles held firm to snap the Thunderbirds eight-game winning streak.
Riley Jensen chipped in with two assists for the Eagles in the triumph.
Eagles netminder Shane Brancato made 29 saves to record the win while Thunderbirds goaltender Colin Ahern saw 35 shots fired his way in defeat.
The two teams will finish off a weekend home-and-home Saturday at John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., at 7 p.m.