BLIND RIVER, Ont. – The Blind River Beavers got a goal and an assist apiece from Thomas Michaud and Noah Minns as part of a 4-1 triumph over the Soo Thunderbirds Saturday afternoon in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at the Blind River Community Centre.
Visiting Sault Ste. Marie held a 14-6 edge in shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes, but a late power play helped Blind River commence the day’s scoring with just 15 seconds left in the frame.
It came about after Beavers’ forward Michaud worked the puck from behind the net over to Jacob Kelly on the right side, who in turn sent a feed across into the high slot for an Ethan Pegg one-time blast that flew part Thunderbirds netminder Alex Bugeja through a maze of players parked in front.
Action in the middle stanza saw the guests draw level 80 seconds in as the Soo broke out in transition and saw Brock Santa Maria calmly wait before sending a perfect cross-ice feed over to a hard-charging Caleb Wood, who neatly chipped the puck underneath Blind River goalkeeper Gavin Disano.
Countering, the home side regained the lead at 6:30 of the session to go up 2-1.
That play saw Pegg snap an attempt from the left point that was deftly redirected by Michaud from inside the faceoff circle, and in, to send the hosts to the intermission up by one.
Some late rough staff in the second stanza resulted in a number of players receiving game ejections, including the Soo’s Bugeja, and saw Blind River begin the session with a two-man advantage and Scott Young enter between the pipes for the Thunderbirds.
Having the extra skaters helped the Beavers add to their lead with Minns stuffing in a loose puck from the side of the net 45 seconds in following some nice passing by the Blind River power play.
They then secured the victory in the late going as Blake McNally potted a long-range empty netter from centre ice to round out the scoring.
Kelly chipped in with two assists to aid the Blind River cause.
A 32-save effort helped Disano collect the win.
Bugeja saw 20 attempts fired his way in defeat during 40 minutes of work, while Young handled eight of nine in third period relief.
The two teams will meet again Sunday afternoon in a 2 p.m. start back in Blind River with the contest also being broadcast on HockeyTV.com.