Game Photo: Rob Horn
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A long-anticipated Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League home ice return by the Soo Eagles went their way Friday as they defeated the Espanola Express 6-2 at Pullar Stadium.
Appearing in their first NOJHL regular season home game since February 29, 2020, the Eagles scored six and a half minutes into the match-up on Charlie Salem’s first league goal after Brian Fiddes darted around the net and set him up parked in front where he quickly stuffed it past Espanola’s Patrick Boivin.
A frantic middle session saw the two sides combine for six goals, including a four-pack provided by the home side.
After Marc Lafrance made it 2-0, Espanola’s Landon Sanford’s first NOJHL goal came at 10:51 as he let a shot go from the right point off a face-off win that clipped off a Sault Ste. Marie player and got by netminder Ryan Gilmore.
Up a skater, three minutes later, Jack Mortson got that back for the Eagles as he had a couple of chances from the right of Express netminder Boivin before eventually tucking it in.
Going to the power play themselves, the visitors’ Ty McHutchion got a piece of a shot from the point provided by Caleb Resch.
The man advantages continued and the Eagles converted once again thanks to Seth Ferguson at 15:48 as he fired one into the open side off a rebound.
The Soo then capped off the outburst thanks to Chase Tallaire as he was left with a tap in off a splendid rush by Mortson who powered his way down the side boards and sent a sharp feed across the crease that was finished off.
In the third, the Soo wrapped up the scoring in the late going with Dylan Bacholo converting once more on the power play.
Eagles defenceman Isiah Gagerman dished out three assists to help the Soo cause.
Gilmore got the win the Eagles making 35 saves while Boivin faced 49 shots against in defeat.