Photos: Rob Horn
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A pair of third period tallies by Chase Tallaire of the Soo Eagles broke open a tie game and send his side to a 4-1 victory over the Cochrane Crunch Saturday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Saturday at Pullar Stadium in front of 630 spectators.
The opening period saw each team strike once as they hit the intermission knotted at 1-1.
Sault Ste. Marie opened the scoring 7:21 into the proceedings as Tyler Culleton finished off a quick feed from Michael Szlag and snapped a shot past Cochrane starter Ben DiGiallonardo from the left circle.
Countering, the Crunch drew level at 15:45 as Cale Anderson capitalized off a shot block and darted down the ice on a two-man break, where he calmly waited and opted to shoot while putting his attempt through Eagles’ netminder Logan Raffaele.
Despite the Soo carrying a big edge in the shots on goal department through each of the first two periods, it was the stellar efforts of DiGiallonardo that kept the game even at one entering the third.
The Eagles’ persistence paid off with the go-ahead marker early in the final frame though as the puck came free in the visitor’s zone that allowed Tallaire to scoop it up and move it towards the net when he fired a shot that found its way in as he collected his 22nd tally of the campaign at 1:46.
Pressing for more, Tallaire tacked on another midway through the final period as he forced a tunrover came in, moved to his left and lifted in his 23rd overall.
There was more from the home side a couple of shifts later as they saw another solid scorer, Seth Ferguson, convert as he was set-up nicely by Szlag and made no mistake by whipping in his 18th from the slot to round out the night’s scoring.
With the decider, Tallaire has now provide the game-winning goal on nine occasions so far this season, which leads all NOJHL skaters.
That is the most in league-play since former league MVP, Caleb Serre, provided 10 difference makers for the Blind River Beavers back in 2019-20.
Making his third start of the season, Raffaele picked up the victory, in as many appearances, while DiGiallonardo turned in a solid effort, despite the defeat.