Express earn home win over Thunderbirds

ESPANOLA, Ont. Tyler Nelson’s first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League goal, coming late in the first period, held up as the game-winner as the Espanola Express went on to defeat the Soo Thunderbirds 4-2 Saturday at the Regional Recreation Complex.

The hometown Express were quick to get on track as they opened the scoring 95 seconds into the contest on a Josh Boucher marker.

Espanola then went up by a pair at 5:28 as Matais Salem’s seventh extended their early lead.

Sault Ste. Marie cut into the deficit later in the frame as rookie forward Jacob Kovacs collected his eighth of the campaign to get the guests on the board.

However, newcomer Nelson, skating in his second NOJHL game, put the Express back up by two late in the period as he converted at 19:46.

Moving to the middle stanza, the Thunderbirds drew closer once more, 11 minutes in, on an Avery Rebek marker to make it a 3-2 game after 40 minutes.

In the third, Diego Pasula supplied some insurance for Espanola as his fourth of the campaign helped secure the home ice triumph.

Defenceman Robert Malucci chipped in with two assists for the Express.

Shots on goal favoured the Soo by a 30-25 margin with Andrew Rocha collecting the win while Dakota Meyer suffered the loss.