Photos: Northern Exposures Photography
ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – A James Kearney marker midway through the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to defeat the Elliot Lake Red Wings 7-2 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Saturday evening at Centennial Arena.
The Red Wings did score first when Alex Antoine tipped an Evan Dantas attempt off the post and in past Sault Ste. Marie starter Kolton Bourret just over 13 minutes into the match-up.
Tying it up before the intermission, Samuel Lake’s cross-ice feed found Wyatt Marlow on the right wing where he whipped in his 24th of the season, as he beat Elliot Lake’s Cameron Smith blocker side.
Coming out quickly in the second stanza, the Soo went in front early when Brock Santa Maria slammed in a Kearney cross-crease feed.
Then, after a point-blank save by Bourret, the T-Birds countered and saw Kearney connect from between the hash marks to put his club up by two midway through the proceedings.
Adding another before the end of the frame, some nice puck movement was finished off by Daniel Beaupre, after the Soo collected a turnover and kept the play in the Red Wings’ zone.
Third period play saw the Thunderbirds extend their cushion a couple of minutes in when Michael Chaffay made no mistake with a sharp wrist shot from the slot.
Silas Crawford brought the Red Wings back to within three at 8:10 as he redirected a Braeden Vis effort from the left point by Bourret.
However, a rare shorthanded goal, while down two skaters, helped the Soo put the game away as Youssef Chaouachi darted in alone on Smith and managed to get just enough of the puck for it to be ruled having crossed the goal line by the official, despite the protests of Smith and Elliot Lake.
Chaffay then capped off the result as he went top shelf from the right side in the late going to wrap up the road result.
The wins sees the T-Birds move to 34-14-3-2 on the season while the Red Wings fall to 17-33-1-2.