By Randy Russon – Hockey News North
It was fitting that the game should end in a tie given the spirited effort put forth by the lineup-depleted Soo Eagles and the visiting Timmins Rock.
In a fast-paced, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League game played on Saturday, the Eagles and Timmins skated to a 1-1 draw in front of 645 fans at Pullar Stadium.
Neither a 5-minute, 4-on-4 overtime or a 5-minute, 3-on-3 extra session could declare a victor, thus both teams skated off Pullar ice with a well-deserved point.
Minus four regulars including captain Jake Hernandez and assistant captain Kendall Huckins from their forward lines, the Eagles got spectacular goaltending from Jack Hickey and held off the rapid fire of the Rock long enough to force the tie.
With Hernandez and Huckins both serving league suspensions for (allegedly) instigating fights in previous games, it was Hickey who rose to the occasion with a 53-save effort, 12 of which came in the 10 minutes of overtime.
On the night, Timmins out-shot the Soo 54-30, including a 12-4 edge in extra time.
As Hickey was outstanding, Timmins goalie Logan Ferrington was solid as a Rock with saves that included breakaway stops on Eagles forwards Trevor Jestadt and Jake Palmerio (in overtime.)
On the scoresheet, both goals came past the 14-minute mark of the second stanza with Tristan Salesse finding range for Paul Gagne’s well-coached Rock and Evan Ketner replying for the Eagles.
With a lineup short on regular skaters, Eagles co-coach Jim Capy methodically mixed and matched and kept his players fresh. And while the Eagles finally showed forms of fatigue in the overtime frames, it was Hickey who made at least a half-a-dozen big stops.
The win for the Eagles improves their record to 1-2-1 while the Rock takes a 1-3-1 mark into an afternoon match later today in Espanola against the Express.
The Eagles won their first game of the young season on Friday after two earlier setbacks to the Thunderbirds to begin their return to the NOJHL after three years in the North American Hockey League.
Playing at home, the Eagles got 24 saves from goalie Jack Deines and Soo, Ontario product Jake Palmerio scored his second goal in three games as the Michiganders cuffed the Blind River Beavers 4-1.
The 645 fans who attended Saturday’s match pushes the Eagles three-game, home-attendance mark for the young season to just over 2,160.