SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Dominic Skrelja’s second goal of the game, coming on the power play with under 10 minutes remaining, was the difference as the Soo Eagles went on to prevail over the Soo Thunderbirds 4-3 as the cross-border rivals renewed acquaintances Saturday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Pullar Stadium in front of a season-high crowd of 1,230.
Early tallies saw the Eagles grab a 2-1 lead that featured Chase Tallaire and Skrelja sandwich markers around one by the Thunderbirds’ Colton Hayes before the contest was three and a half minutes old.
The home side then went up a pair at 8:27 with Praveen Dhaliwal getting his second of the campaign with the assistance of Ryan Dacks and Tucker Harris.
It stayed 3-1 until the latter stages of the middle stanza when the visitors connected twice in rapid succession to knot the affair as Jordan Broome, at even strength, and Mackenzie Walkington, during a two-man advantage, both found the back of the net to level the proceedings.
The up a skater midway through the third, the Eagles got the difference maker from Skrelja as his team-leading 28th proved to be the game-winner.
Shots on goal finished up 36-31 in favour of the Eagles.
Shane Brancato started and played one period stopping eight of nine while Gabe Rosek got the win in relief, handling 19 of the chances in getting the victory.
Thunderbirds goaltender Sam Evola faced 36 attempts in defeat.