Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Colby Arbour effort, just past the three-minute mark of overtime, was the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds pulled out a 3-2 victory over the Timmins Rock Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League meeting at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Featuring two of the top teams in the NOJHL standings, the clubs did not disappoint in the hard-fought affair that needed additional time to determine a winner.
It was Sault Ste. Marie than scored first as Dharan Cap clicked on the power play at 17:25 of the opening frame as he made a nice move out of the corner then ripped a shot over the glove of Rock starter Gavin McCarthy.
With the 1-0 score line carrying over into the second stanza, Timmins provided an equalizer at 6:42.
There Cameron Dutkiewicz blasted a slap shot from the top of the right circle as he cranked a back pass put his way by teammate Tyler Schwindt for his 13th, which is the second-most among NOJHL defencemen.
The only blueliner ahead of Dutkiewicz, in that department, is the Thunderbirds’ Andrew Gibson, who potted his 17th, just 1:12 into the third as he skated down the right side and neatly picked the corner with a wrist shot, blocker side, on McCarthy to put the hosts back on top.
It stayed 2-1 Soo until the late going when the Rock’s Schwindt forced OT with 1:21 left in regulation by banging in a rebound past a sprawled Thunderbirds’ netminder Noah Metivier as Timmins pressed with an extra attacker.
Heading to extra time, the T-Birds pulled out the win after Kaden Dundas made a rush into Rock territory then fed Arbour who made a quick deke to his left and calmly tucked in the game-winner to end wrap-up the quality contest.
With the result, the Soo raised their record to 24-5-2-3 on the season with the Rock earned a point in the narrow setback as they went to 25-5-2-1 on the campaign.