SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Nick Smith registered a first period hat trick and added a later assist as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to topple the Elliot Lake Wildcats 7-2 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Wednesday evening at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Supporting a worthy cause and donning their annual Pink the Rink jerseys in this one, Sault Ste. Marie got on the board four and a half minutes into the contest as Smith scored on the power play.
Elliot Lake came back with the equalizer a couple of shifts later compliments of a Hayden Daca effort as his second of the campaign levelled the proceedings.
It was all Thunderbirds in the back half of the frame however as Smith tacked on two more for his fourth career hat trick to put the hosts up by a pair.
They then added one more before the initial session was complete as Will Josephson set-up Kurtis Rogers for his third to extend the cushion.
Coming out quickly in the middle stanza, the Soo connected again with Smith helping feed Jacob Kovacs for his 10th, just 23 seconds in, to make 5-1 after two periods of play.
Action in the third saw Josephson put the Thunderbirds further in front compliments of his third at 4:01.
The Wildcats power play pulled them closer at 7:52 as Eric Vanderhoff bagged his team-leading 13th with help from Owen Kruse and Connor Taylor.
With the assist, Taylor extended a consecutive game point streak to 14 games in a row.
The Soo then rounded out the scoring in the late going as rookie Colton Hayes registered his first goal in the NOJHL to cap off the win.
Shots on net on the night saw the Thunderbirds hold a big 63-29 edge with Colin Ahern picking up the win while Parker Simpson suffered the defeat.
Game Photos courtesy of Bob Davies