Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A three-goal effort from Alex Freund sent the Soo Eagles on their way to a 5-2 triumph over the Soo Thunderbirds in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Friday in front of over 900 spectators at Pullar Stadium.
The Eagles struck first in the renewed meeting between the cross-border rivals when Freund forced a turnover at his own blueline then was sent in alone on a clear-cut breakaway and neatly sent a shot over the blocker Thunderbirds’ goaltender Maverick Fletcher, just over seven minutes into the contest.
Adding another later in the frame, Benjamin Pouliot cranked a blast from the right circle that clipped off the glove of the T-Birds’ netminder and saw Tyler Fortson bat in the puck out of mid-air at 14:34.
Action in the middle stanza saw the Eagles strike quickly to go up by three as Jack Paweski raced in alone on Fletcher and wired one over the blocker at the 57-second mark.
The Thunderbirds came back to click twice on the power play, in rapid succession, to get right back in it.
Jackson Truchan got the guests going as he ripped one top shelf from the right side over Anthony Zolezzi.
Alex Remenda then converted for the T-Birds just over a minute later as he took a cross-ice feed from Kaden Dundas and fired it in.
Regrouping, the Eagles went up by a pair midway through the third by converting on a man advantage marker that was supplied by Freund as he jammed in a rebound off a Lane Janssen attempt from the right point.
The hosts then sealed the victory in the late going when Freund snagged a turnover, skated in, and deposited it into an empty net for his first NOJHL hat trick.
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 16-5-0-1 so far this season while the Thunderbirds dropped to 13-5-2-1.