Thunderbirds and Trappers skate to 4-4 draw



Release Date: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012

Thunderbirds and Trappers skate to 4-4 draw

NORTH BAY– The top two clubs in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League standings battled for 70 minutes with neither the first place Soo Thunderbirds nor the second seeded North Bay Trappers managing to pull out to a victory as they skated to 4-4 double overtime tie Sunday afternoon at Memorial Gardens.

The Thunderbirds pressed for the opening goal and early in the contest and were rewarded eight minutes in as Darcy Casola stuffed in his 17th tally of the season past North Bay netminder Greg Dodds.

Connor Gilmartin levelled the proceedings for the home side at 17:06 of the stanza lifting the puck over a sprawled Joel Horodziejczyk from the top of the crease.

Sault Ste. Marie was quick to regain the lead however as Greg Sartoretto capitalized 10 seconds into a power play opportunity scooping up a loose puck on a redirected left point shot by A.J. Kapchek and depositing the go ahead goal into the open side.

North Bay evened things up in the middle frame moments after Dodds thwarted a partial Soo breakaway as during a man advantage as Brandon Janke corralled the rebound off a Stephen Langford blast and tucked the equalizer underneath the cross bar at 3:59.

The bar and forth affair saw the T-Birds retake the lead once again four minutes later courtesy of the power play as Sartoretto knocked down a North Bay clearing attempt, picked up the loose puck from the end boards and calmly fed a backhand pass to a streaking Casola in the slot who made no mistake to make it 3-2 Soo.

Once the Trappers answered back with Langford picking up his second assist of the period as his slap-pass went right to Samuel Blanchet who wired in a one-timer to knot it at 3-3 at 10:37.

North Bay took their first lead of the game in the late stages of the middle stanza when Tait Seguin stripped a Soo defender of the puck to the side of Horodziejczyk and slid in an unassisted backhand effort to put his side in front after 40 minutes.

Despite playing their third game in as many days the Thunderbirds pushed to tie things up and force OT and did just that as Brandon Warmington snapped a low shot through the legs of Dodds with 2:03 remaining in regulation.

Both teams traded tremendous opportunities in each of the two five-minute OT sessions, which included Horodziejczyk stopping Janke on late penalty shot attempt in the final minute, with neither side able to pick up the extra point.

Shot on goal favoured North Bay 47-39.

With the result the Soo (19-4-3-2) retains their league lead with 43 points, one more the North Bay. (18-3-3-3)

Weekly play in the NOJHL wraps up this evening as the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners host the Abitibi Eskimos in a 7:30 p.m. start.