Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Jackson Truchan marker midway through the contest proved to the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to skate past the Soo Eagles 4-2 Friday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter at John Rhodes Community Centre.
A physical first period between the two long-time NOJHL rivals featured a number of man advantage opportunities, but saw neither side convert offensively as the clubs hit the intermission knotted at 0-0.
Up a skater entering the middle stanza, the Thunderbirds clicked 27 seconds in with Kelsey Ouellet stuffing one into the open net on Eagles’ goalkeeper Marino Ramierez.
Still on the power play, the T-Birds tacked on another less than two minutes later as Grayson Ebraham notched his initial NOJHL marker after Truchan collected his own rebound off a shot on target then sent the puck to the top of the crease where it was quickly snapped in.
The Eagles power play helped them get on the board at 7:26 and saw Nolan Hendry convert as he went to the net and lifted a backhand over the glove of netminder Kolton Bourret.
Coming back a couple of shifts later, the Thunderbirds went back up by three as Truchan got behind the Eagles’ defence and went in alone on Ramierez and had two chances before putting it in.
Getting a second on the night, the visitor’s Drew Dellies deposited his first in league play as he forced a turnover deep in the home’s side zone then slid a spinning effort low under Bourret.
In the final frame, the guests looked to draw even and force overtime, but the Thunderbirds held firm defensively and secured the home ice triumph with a late empty netter courtesy of Daniel Beaupre, in the final moments, to wrap things up.