Thunderbirds rally for OT win over rival Eagles

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Kaden Dundas power play blast midway through overtime was the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds rallied late to secure a 4-3 decision over the rival Soo Eagles Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at John Rhodes Community Centre.

Renewing acquaintances for the first time since February 29, 2020, the host Thunderbirds opened the scoring 8:42 into the game as Kyle Trottier banged in a feed from the side of Eagles’ netminder Gabe Rosek with a quick one-timer from the slot.

Getting that back in the latter stages of the first off a shot block, Zachary Briskey darted down the ice, cut around a defender before neatly tucking a backhand through the legs of Noah Zeppa and in.

Taking the lead in the second stanza, the Eagles’ Chase Tallaire buried a rebound off a three-on-one rush into the Thunderbirds’ zone.

The Eagles then extended their edge at 15:37 thanks to Jack Mortson, who took a cross-ice feed and zipped down the right wing before outwaiting Zeppa and scoring for a fourth consecutive game.

Rallying in the back half of the third, the Thunderbirds made it 3-2 with 6:53 remaining in regulation thanks to Andrew Gibson firing one through a crowd from the left point.

The T-Birds then drew level moments later after a Dundas long stretch pass sent the his side on a two-man break that was finished off by Michael Chaffay from right on top of Rosek.

Heading to extra time, the hosts picked up an early power play and completed their comeback as Dundas cranked a one-timer from the high slot that soared into the upper portion of the net to end it just as the penalty was set to expire.

Zeppa made 22 saves to collect the win while Rosek had 28 shots against in helping his team pick up a point in defeat.