Canadians strike late to edge Thunderbirds

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Brady Maltais goal with just 13 seconds remaining in regulation broke a late deadlock as the Rayside-Balfour Canadians pulled out a dramatic 3-2 triumph over the Soo Thunderbirds Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division match-up at John Rhodes Community Centre.

Sault Ste. Marie, who had been 7-0 when scoring first in games, did get on the board initially in this one when Kaidan McDonald collected his sixth of the campaign at 19:20.

It stayed that way until the 15-minute mark of the middle stanza when the Canadians tied it on Jett Leishman’s second.

Leishman then added another before the frame was complete as he converted once more just 84 seconds later.

The Thunderbirds drew level midway through the third thanks to Tyler Malpass as he raised his tally total to a half dozen on the season.

Then with overtime looming, it was Rayside-Balfour’s Maltais that struck late to give his side their fourth straight decision and move into a tie for first in the NOJHL West with the Soo.

Maltais also had two assists on the night while Leishman had one as the duo finished with three-point nights.

David Bowen made 33 saves to pick up the win for RBC while Colin Ahern faced 39 attempts in defeat for the Thunderbirds.

Game Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin – SSM Photos