SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Soo Thunderbirds forward Matthew Bazarin tallied three times in rapid succession in the second period for a natural hat trick as his efforts helped his side upend the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 8-3 at the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase being held at Big Bear Arena.
Sault Ste. Marie took the lead in this one, as Mackenzie Walkington put his side in front at 3:20.
Kirkland Lake countered by striking twice before the first period was complete with Landis Antonic supplying his sixth and Lucas Branch, with his first in the league, as the Gold Miners took a 2-1 cushion after 20 minutes.
Regrouping, the Thunderbirds battled back in the middle session starting with Walkington intercepting a clearing attempt in the neutral zone then proceeded to skate into the Kirkland Lake zone and wiring one top shelf from the left wing.
The Soo then went back on top for good with Jacob Kovacs deftly deflecting a Chase MacIntyre point blast.
It was more Thunderbirds from there with Matthew Bazarin burying his ninth of the campaign as they took a 4-2 edge.
Continuing to press the Bazarin show continued to click an tacked on two more in rapid succession to cap off his hat trick with some crafty stick work from in close completing his club’s offensive barrage as they took a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes.
The Gold Miners got one back 64 seconds into the third as Antonic blazed down the right side while shorthanded and stuffed one past Soo starter Colin Ahern.
However, the Soo secured the decision in the latter stages of the contest when Daniel Bazarin finished off a two-on-one while Cooper Smyl finished things off for the Thunderbirds in the final minute.
Shots on goal ended up 37-28 in favour of the Soo with Ahern earning the victory.
Kyle McNair started for Kirkland Lake and suffered the loss, allowing five against on 24 attempts while Kohl Reddy handled 10 of 13 in relief.