Photos: Northern Exposures Photography
ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – A six-goal first period barrage by the Elliot Red Wings sent them on the way to an 8-4 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds Tuesday night in a high-scoring Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Centennial Arena.
Scoreless through 10 minutes, the flood gates opened in the back half of the opening session and saw the clubs strike for eight tallies, including six by the Red Wings, to break it open.
Alex Antoine began the offensive outburst for Elliot Lake at 10:12 when he snagged a turnover at the side of the net and lifted it over the outstretched glove of Sault Ste. Marie starter Zachary Reddy before he could get across to keep it out.
Josh Tomasi made it 2-0 for the hosts, just over a minute later, as he took a nice cross-ice pass from Devin Shoreman and roofed it.
Answering back, Brock Santa Maria countered for the Thunderbirds on the next shift by ripping one high over the glove of Red Wings’ netminder Cameron Smith.
Undaunted, the home side answered with a trio of tallies in rapid succession to make it 5-1.
Matthew Shulist notched his team’s third of the session after picking off a Soo clearing attempt and whipping it through Reddy from the left circle.
Darcy Scott’s initial NOJHL goal 78 seconds later as he put one through a mass of bodies in front from the point.
Not done there, Evan Dantas darted out of his own zone on an odd-man rush and finished off nice feed from Charlie Wesholowski.
Youssef Chaouacki of the Thunderbirds then clicked on a crafty slow backhand between the legs of Smith, on a clear-cut breakaway to get one back, but a lucky bounce hit the Red Wings’ Kaden Laverdiere in the chest and dropped in to finish off the action-packed frame.
Kolton Bourret entered the net for the visitors to begin the second period, however Zachary Vickerman greeted him with a sharp-angle shot from the side boards that found its way in to make it 7-2 Elliot Lake at 6:33.
Everything continued to go right for the Red Wings as they saw Silas Crawford strike shorthanded when he powered into the Soo zone and lifted a short-side backhand that eluded Bourret.
Things settled down offensively the rest of period as the home side took their big lead into the second intermission.
In the third, Michael Chaffay of the T-Birds was the beneficiary of a fanned pass by an Elliot Lake defender, which provided him with an unassisted effort at 7:08 with a low wrist shot from the right side.
Picking up a two-man advantage with give minutes remaining, the Soo scored again with Dharan Cap having a couple of whacks on a play in front before knocking it in.
That rounded out the scoring on the night with Smith getting the win while Reddy was saddled with the loss.