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Power play proves pivotal in Thunderbirds victory over Eagles

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The power play was prevalent Friday in a contest that saw the Soo Thunderbirds strike four times on the man advantage as they went on to defeat the rival Soo Eagles 6-4 in a penalty-filled Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League meeting at Pullar Stadium.

While up a skater midway through the first period, the Thunderbirds scored when Wyatt Marlow fired one in front from the right circle that clipped off an Eagles’ player and changed direction in eluding goalkeeper Logan Raffaele, who was left with little chance on the play.

Answering with an equalizer on a delayed penalty, Jack Mortson put one in from in close range by T-Birds’ starter Kolton Bourret, off a Chase Tallaire chance.

However, the visitors countered with two tallies of their own to take a 3-1 lead.

The man advantage clicked once more for the Thunderbirds at 14:55 and saw Ethan Novello jam the puck in during a goal-mouth scramble.

Not done there, the guests then saw Austin Fellinger deposit a backhand past a sprawled Raffaele.

The Eagles did make it 3-2 after one compliments of recently acquired Hunter Friesen at 18:24 as he drove to the net and put it by Bourret.

In the second stanza, special teams continued to thrive on the offensive side as three power play markers were provided, including two for the T-Birds.

Novello had both of them to complete his three-goal night while another by Friesen accounted for the Eagles’ effort.

His second of the evening came as the puck pin-balled its way to him at the top of the crease, where he knocked it in.

As for Friesen, like his initial marker, he was rewarded by going to the net as he steered one in from for left side after a pad save by Bourret.

Up a skater once more, just over a minute later, Novello added another by quickly pumping in a Jackson Truchan feed.

Friesen then capped off his own three-tally performance by collecting a turnover and darting in alone before making a couple of quick dekes prior to putting one in blocker side.

The Thunderbirds eventually wrapped it up with Marlow spinning on the side boards and putting a shot into an empty net just before time expired.

In picking up the win, the T-Birds improved to 25-10-2-1 on the season while the Eagles dropped to 17-14-3-1.

MAKE-UP GAME: The NOJHL has finalized a make-up game for the Eagles that was suspended back in September versus the French River Rapids.

That contest will now be completed on Wednesday, January 25 and will get underway at 7 p.m. at Pullar Stadium.