SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A Chase Tallaire tally in the third round of the shootout proved to be the difference maker as the Soo Eagles prevailed with a narrow 3-2 win over the rival Soo Thunderbirds Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Pullar Stadium.
The visiting Thunderbirds were quick to strike as Dharan Cap scored 27 seconds into the contest, when he redirected in a nice pass from the side of the crease by teammate Jackson Truchan.
Drawing level late in the middle stanza, Eagles’ captain Jack Mortson drove hard to the net from the left side, where he made a couple of nifty dekes and lifted a close-range back-hand over the pad of goalkeeper Landon Miller, while flying over top of him in the process, for his team-leading eighth of the year.
Taking the lead three and a half minutes into the third, Bryce Grandboise of the home side picked off a clearing attempt and moved in where he whipped a shot through the legs of Miller to score in his NOJHL debut.
Answering while on a two-man advantage at 6:04, Michael Chaffay brought the guests back to level terms as he took a Brock Santa Maria feed and lifted one high over the shoulder, short side, on Eagles’ goalkeeper Logan Raffaele.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime failed to produce a winner, it went to extra shots to determine a result.
There, Brian Fiddes slid one in five-hold on Miller, while Tallaire made a deke then when top shelf with his attempt.
Brodie McConnell-Baker countered for the Thunderbirds with a quick wrist shot.
The win for Raffaele was his sixth straight to start the season while his side improve to 6-3-0-0 on season.
Miller’s efforts helped the T-Birds pick-up one point in defeat as they dropped to 4-6-0-1 overall.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel