Eagles strike 3 times late to tame Thunderbirds



Release Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016

Eagles strike 3 times late to tame Thunderbirds

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Soo Eagles scored three unanswered goals in the final half of the third period to help them defeat the rival Soo Thunderbirds 6-3 Saturday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up in front of 946 boisterous fans at Pullar Stadium.

Special teams allowed the Eagles to notch the lone tally, in the latter stages, of the opening frame when Bradley Hofelich notched his first of the season as he connected on the power play at 15:51.

Heading into the middle stanza, the Thunderbirds drew level five minutes into the session as Ryan Waterhouse notched the equalizer for the visitors.

Countering the home side retook the lead at 10:07 thank to Rhett Rampinelli picking up his third marker of the campaign.

The T-Birds struck late in the second to knot the affair at 2-2 thanks to an Austin Kozluk effort with just nine seconds remaining.

In the third, the Eagles went back in front once again at 4:56 as Chris Lutz collected his third goal of 2016-17.

A Thunderbirds man advantage marker allowed the visitors to tie things up once more as Kozluk added another with 12:31 remaining.

However the Eagles came right back and regained the lead for the final time at 9:49 when Tait Aptakin supplied the eventual game-winner.

Chris Murphy, via the power play, added some insurance for the hosts with under two and a half minutes to go while Hofelich iced it with an empty netter in the final seconds to wrap things up.

Captain Jake Saxton, Matt Meininger and Nick Trecroce dished out two assists each to aid the Eagles’ offensive cause.

Justyn Gillis made 34 stops, including 19 alone in the third, to pick up the win for the Eagles, who put an end to the Thunderbirds four-game win streak as they also defeated them for a second time this season.

Brandon Gordon faced 38 shots in defeat for the T-Birds.