Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A Callum McAuley marker with 51 seconds remaining in overtime proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds pulled out a narrow 2-1 triumph over the Soo Eagles Friday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up in front of nearly 1,000 spectators at Pullar Stadium.
The hometown Eagles opened the scoring, moments into a man advantage, as Benjamin Pouliot jammed in a puck that Thunderbirds’ netminder Kolton Bourret could not contain off a Gabriel Fisher point shot at 8:54 of the first period.
Heading to the second session, the teams traded some quality chances, but neither side converted offensively as the clubs hit the intermission with the hosts maintaining their narrow lead.
In the third, the Thunderbirds finally solved Eagles starter Marino Ramirez nearly six minutes in when Camden Cowan worked a give-and-go with Thomas Degagne before turning and firing a shot upstairs from the right side to provide an impressive tally in his NOJHL debut.
The tightly-contested affair remained level through the remainder of regulation, to send it to extra time.
In the late going there, the visitors pulled out the win when the Thunderbirds’ Quinn Myles made a couple of nice spin moves in the Eagles zone then fired a crisp feed across to McAuley who moved in and fired the winner up high past a diving Ramirez to end it.
With the victory in the hard-played affair, the T-Birds improved to 20-9-0-1 overall.
Picking up a point in the close setback, the Eagles moved to 20-13-1-1 on the campaign.