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Rivalry night sees Thunderbirds prevail over Eagles in front of 1,226 fans

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League rivals the Soo Thunderbirds and Soo Eagles met once again Friday evening and it was the visiting Thunderbirds that prevailed with a 4-1 victory at Pullar Stadium in front of a season-high 1,226 fans at Pullar Stadium.

Despite the home side having a 13-5 edge in shots in the first period, it was the Thunderbirds who secured the lone offensive effort in the session as Nick Smith supplied his team-leading 29th goal of the season, which also moved him into a tie for the league-lead with the Eagles’ Christian Bardarson.

The second stanza saw the Thunderbirds boast the edge in attempts on net by a 12-8 margin, however the session was scoreless thanks to the efforts of goaltenders Brandon Gordon for the guests and the home side’s Shane Brancato.

Jacob Palmerio would tie it for the Eagles just past the midway point of the third as he collected 18 goal of the campaign, which also was the 50th NOJHL tally overall for the third-year forward.

However the Thunderbirds came right back a couple shifts later and picked up the game-winner off the stick of Noah Solinger.

Camaryn Baber joined Solinger in reaching the 10-goal plateau on the campaign at 16:12 before Braden King iced it in the final minute with an empty netter as he registered his first marker in a Thunderbirds’ jersey.

Tristan Cicchello chipped in with a pair of helpers for the winning side.

Gordon turned in another solid performance for the Thunderbirds as he made 37 saves in recording the win while Brancato faced 26 attempts in defeat for the Eagles.

The two sides will finish up a home-and-home Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. start at John Rhodes Community Centre.