SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Brandon Atkins tallied twice and added an assist to help lead the Rayside-Balfour Canadians to a 4-2 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division match-up at John Rhodes Community Centre.
After a scoreless opening frame, Rayside-Balfour opened the scoring just past the five-minute mark of the middle stanza as Atkins knocked in his fourth of the campaign with help from Noah Serre and Alexander Fowke.
Picking up a power play, Sault Ste. Marie tied it at 16:39 when Lucas Theriault buried his team-leading 22nd which also tied him for the overall league-lead.
However, the Canadians regrouped to before the second was complete as Atkins added another as he finished off a Kyle Liinamaa feed at 18:18.
Trading markers in the third, Liinamaa put the visitors up by two with a shorthanded effort at 7:03 only to see the Thunderbirds come right back on the same power play 20 seconds later on Max Techel’s initial NOJHL goal.
Late in regulation, Jett Leishman helped secure the win for RBC as his insurance marker into an empty net for his eighth of the campaign rounded out the scoring with 1:36 to go.
David Bowen made 36 stops to earn the decision in net for Rayside-Balfour while Colin Ahern faced 39 shots in defeat for the Soo.
With the outcome, the Canadians improved to 20-12-2-1 while the league-leading Thunderbirds fell to 24-7-0-1.
Game Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin – SSM Photos