BLIND RIVER, Ont. – The Blind River Beavers broke open a tie game with five unanswered goals, including four in the third period, to pull out an 8-3 victory vs. the Soo Thunderbirds in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Sunday at the Blind River Community Centre.
Capitalizing quickly, Sault Ste. Marie needed just 38 seconds to begin the scoring when Warner Young darted into Blind River territory and let go a high-rising shot from the right wing boards that fooled Beavers’ starter Wyatt Courchaine.
Countering, the home side drew level at 5:54 of the first compliments of Meguire Naughton as he blocked a shot in his own zone then darted down the ice on a breakaway before snapping in the equalizer over the glove of Soo netminder Scott Young.
Blind River then took the lead six minutes later when Spencer Kennedy, parked in front of the net, neatly deflected a Lucas Adams attempt from the left point for his first NOJHL marker.
Capitalizing on a two-man advantage the hosts added another as Ethan Pegg set-up Matt Cato who let a quick wrister go from the left side that hit off the right post and skipped in.
Getting that back just past the five-minute mark of the second, the Thunderbirds’ Tyson Doucette collected his own rebound and lifted in a backhander from the top of the crease to make it a 3-2 game.
An errant Beavers’ back pass intended to go behind the net, skipped off the end boards right in front to an open Caleb Wood who notched the tying tally with a backhand from in close that eluded Courchaine.
Regrouping, the home team went back in front at 13:08 as Devin Mauro clicked on the power play from near the net with help from Noah Minns and Thomas Michaud.
A great chance to level the proceedings once more came late in the stanza as the Soo’s Russell Oldham darted into Blind River territory and fired a shot that rang off the cross bar but stayed out before the club’s hit the second intermission.
In the third, the Beavers went back up by a pair as Blake McNally powered his way down the left wing and sent a low shot through the legs of Young with 14 minutes to go.
Adding some insurance, the hosts connected once more as Michaud banged in the rebound off a Pegg chance from the right point that was initially handled by the pad of Young, but the loose puck sat free in front which allowed it to be jammed in to the open side.
Blind River’s Kennedy collected his second of the afternoon at 15:03 as he skated down the right wing and whipped in a shot high blocker side.
Jesse Dupuis then capped off the decision in the final moments as he finished off a goal-mouth scramble to wrap things up offensively.
Shots on goal ended up 46-38 in favour Beavers with Courchaine picking up the win and Young suffering the setback.
The clubs will meet again Thursday in a 7 p.m. start at John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.
This match-up will also be available on HockeyTV.com.