FRENCH RIVER – Nick Smith tallied twice, including registering the game-winner, to help lead the Soo Thunderbirds to a 4-2 triumph over the French River Rapids in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League inter-divisional affair Sunday at Noelville Arena.
Capping off a three-game weekend road swing, Sault Ste. Marie skated to a scoreless first frame as they and the Rapids could not connect offensively.
Moving on to the middle stanza, Smith capitalized on a man advantage opportunity that carried over into the session as he converted 66 seconds into the period to put the visitors on the board.
They then went up by a pair at 3:07 with Lucas Theriault collecting his team-leading 28th to extend the lead.
Picking up a late power play in second, the Rapids cut into the deficit on Hunter Brazier’s 17th marker of the season, which came at 17:23.
The score stayed 2-1 Soo until past the midway point of the third period when Smith picked up the eventual difference maker as he notched his second of the contest and 21st overall.
Avery Rebek supplied some insurance for the Thunderbirds a couple shifts later before French River’s Jacob Romano and Alex Paul combined to set-up Levi Siau for his 14th with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.
However, there would be no further scoring from there before time expired as the Soo held on for the win.
Thunderbirds’ netminder William Anderson was solid making 49 saves to record the victory while Kevin Tardiff faced 36 attempts in defeat for the Rapids.
Photos courtesy of Dal Photography