Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Thomas Degagne tally in the fourth round of the shootout capped off a late rally as the Soo Thunderbirds stormed back to defeat the Elliot Lake Vikings 4-3 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Sunday at John Rhodes Community Centre.
A quick start got the Vikings going as their captain Noah Aboflan banged one in just 14 seconds into the match-up as he beat Sault Ste. Marie starter Maverick Fletcher with a wrist shot from the left circle.
Answering with a tying goal past the midway point of the first period, the Thunderbirds’ Samuel Lake stuffed one past Vikings’ netminder Sam Keene.
After hitting the intermission still knotted at one, another early effort helped the visitors retake the lead as Nate Dugwell snapped one by Fletcher in close, at the 59-second mark.
Extending their lead midway through the final frame, Elliot Lake’s Nathan Marincola jammed in a rebound off a Blake Menard attempt from the slot.
Pulling to within one at 18:24, the Soo’s James Leglar buried a shot from the slot, during a late power play, and with their goalie out for an extra attacker.
The Soo then came right back and tied it in the final minute as Candon O’Neill deposited the equalizer while battling in close.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime, extra shots were needed to determine a winner.
There, Abofland and Carter Carriere converted for the Vikings, while Jacob Smith, along with Daniel Beaupre and Degagne, who both went five-hole, did likewise for the Thunderbirds, to complete the come from behind home-ice victory.
With the win, the T-Birds improve to 17-8-2-1.
In picking up a point in defeat, Elliot Lake’s record goes to 5-18-1-4.
The same two teams will meet again Wednesday in a 7 p.m. start at Massey District & Community Arena, and on FLOHockey.tv.