Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Soo Eagles saw both Nolan Hendry and Benjamin Pouliot collect hat tricks as part of a 7-2 triumph over the visiting Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter at Pullar Stadium.
Striking first, Sault Ste. Marie connected near the four-minute mark of the proceedings when Landon Stevens scooped the puck off the side boards, then fed it across to Pouliot, who steered it by Kirkland Lake goaltender Braydon Garnhart.
Going ahead by two, Zach Sweitzer sent a crisp cross-ice pass over to Hendry who drove hard to the net from the left side and fired a shot under Garnhart.
An early power play in the second helped get the Gold Miners on the board, when Riley Babich put a perfect pass across through the crease that was guided into the open side by Luca Maiuri, 55 seconds in, that Soo starter Marino Ramirez had little chance on.
The Soo then countered with a shorthanded marker at 5:28 when Pouliot blocked a shot in his own zone, then dashed down the ice ahead of a couple of defenders before ripping a shot into the bottom left corner for his second of the night.
Adding another, the Eagles notched another special teams’ effort with Hendry clicking on the power play as he whipped one in from the high slot.
Hendry then finished off his first NOJHL hat trick off a nice multi-player passing play from in close.
Going up by five early in the third, Jack Paweski benefitted from a turnover and went right to the net where he made a number of crafty dekes before tucking his chance by the goalkeeper’s pad.
Exchanging tallies in the late going, each side scored once more to round out the result.
Babich picked up the second on the night for Kirkland Lake by firing one in after a nice rush ice started by Martin Brusoe.
Pouliot then completed his initial three-goal night in the league by tipping in a Coby Fox shot from up top, during a man advantage in the final minute and a half.
The victory sees the surging Soo move to 7-2-0-1, after having started the season with two straight defeats.
With the loss, the Gold Miners now sit 3-5-1-1 in the NOJHL standings.