SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – An unassisted Robert Calisti goal with seven seconds remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to edge the Soo Eagles 2-1 Monday evening in Game 6 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal held at Pullar Stadium in front of 823 fans.
The result means the best-of-seven series is now tied 3-3 setting the stage for a seventh and deciding contest Wednesday at John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., at 7:30 p.m.
After a scoreless first frame, it was the Eagles’ Jake Lamberty who opened the scoring 7:15 into the middle stanza as he collected his first NOJHL playoff marker.
A Thunderbirds’ goalless drought at Pullar Stadium was finally snapped midway through the session compliments of Tanner Mayne, who knotted the affair at 1-1, helping his side notch their first road tally of the postseason.
They then took the lead late in the session as defenceman Calisti walked right in and fired a shot past Eagles’ netminder Carter McPhail moments after the visitors killed off a penalty to join the other two marksmen with his initial playoff goal to help send the series to the distance.
Eric Schuch in the Thunderbirds net did the rest making 28 saves on the night to record the victory.
As for McPhail, he suffered the setback while seeing 33 shots fired his way in defeat.
West Division semifinal
No. 2 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 3 Soo Eagles
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
Game 1: Thunderbirds 4 Eagles 3 (OT)
Game 2: Eagles 3 Thunderbirds 2
Game 3: Eagles 3 Thunderbirds 0
Game 4: Eagles 3 Thunderbirds 0
Game 5: Soo Thunderbirds 3 Soo Eagles 0
Game 6: Soo Thunderbirds 2 Soo Eagles 1
Game7: Wednesday, March 28 @ Thunderbirds 7:30 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)