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Thunderbirds continue strong start with narrow decision over Eagles

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The surging Soo Thunderbirds reeled off their seventh straight Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory Saturday as they skated to a close 2-1 triumph over the Soo Eagles in front of 748 fans at Pullar Stadium.

The two rivals battled through a scoreless opening 20 minutes with neither side managing to get the early jump on their opponent.

Moving into the back half of the second stanza and still awaiting its initial tally, it was the Thunderbirds that struck first thanks to Nick Smith who finished off the work of Tanner Mayne and Ryan Lawrence at 13:53.

The visitors then came right back and tacked on another a mere 52 seconds later when Lucas Theriault supplied his sixth goal this month in what turned out to be the game-winner.

Moving on to the third, the Eagles got themselves back in it quickly as Riley Jensen put one home on the first shift of the frame as he too reached the six-goal plateau on the season on assists by Raf Presner and Mikey Butcher.

It remained closely contested from there with neither side managing to provide any more offense on the night before time expired.

Colin Ahearn in the Thunderbirds net made 26 saves in earning the decision helping his squad improve to 7-0 to start the season.

Eagles starter Joseph Benedetto also turned in a solid performance between the pipes finishing with 37 stops in the narrow setback with his club’s record slipping to 4-5 overall.