Thunderbirds comeback to clip Red Wings

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – For a second straight night, the Soo Thunderbirds rallied from a two-goal deficit to win as they came back to defeat the Elliot Lake Red Wings 7-4 Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at Centennial Arena.

Trading tallies, less than a minute apart, past the midway point of the first period, Sault Ste. Marie struck first as defenceman Andrew Gibson connected for a second straight night, finishing off a give and go by pushing in from the left point and converting.

Coming right back, Elliot Lake potted the equalizer moments later thanks to Josh Tomasi, who went upstairs on Soo starter Noah Zeppa from the left face off dot.

Regaining the lead before the frame was complete, another Thunderbirds’ blueliner in Kaden Dundas took a cross-ice feed from fellow D-man Connor Healy and whipped a shot into the top shelf from the right boards.

Answering that during a two-man advantage in the second stanza, Dayton Clarke wired on from the high slot to level the proceedings.

The Red Wings then notched another just as the man advantage had expired as Clarke buried another chance off a deflection of a big point blast to put the hosts up 3-2 at 6:09.

Bulding on their momentum, Clarke clicked again five minutes later to put Elliot Lake up by a pair to record his initial NOJHL hat trick.

However, the T-Birds answered late in the second by striking twice as Gibson on the power play and Samuel Lake at even strength sent the clubs to the intermission knotted at four.

They then completed the comeback in the third when Michael Chaffay finished from the top of the crease during a man advantage.

Adding some insurance with three minutes remaining, Soo defenceman Zane Burleigh sent Kelsey Ouellet in alone on a breakaway where he managed to win the race to the net before reaching and one-handing his chance underneath Elliot Lake netminder Colton Donaldson to extend the lead.

The Soo then wrapped up the road decision as Tyson Doucette clicked on the power play to round out the night’s scoring.

Gibson finished a four-point night for the Soo while Healy had three assists to aid the Thunderbirds offensively.

Shots on goal finished 40-33 in favour of the T-Birds with Zeppa getting the win while Donaldson suffered the loss.