Game Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds stormed back from a two-goal second period deficit and went on to notch six unanswered markers to defeat the Espanola Express 6-2 Saturday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Espanola got going early as Joshua Romolo sent a shot from the left point that sailed through a maze and found the top corner on Thunderbirds’ starter Nolan Chartrand, who was making his debut with his new club.
It was more from the Express in the latter stages of the first when Ty McHutchion scooped up an errant Soo pass and quickly went upstairs from the top of the crease.
Coming out with a purpose in the middle stanza, Andrew Gibson potted his 10th for Sault Ste. Marie as he calmly cruised in along the right side before zipping one past Espanola goalkeeper Patrick Boivin 41 seconds in.
The hosts then drew level when Cole Delarosbil potted his first of the year at 15:48 by stuffing in a bouncing puck from the left of the net.
Brock Santa Maria then put the Thunderbirds in front before the second came to a close as he whipped one in from the left of the net after been unmarked on a man advantage opportunity.
In the third, it was more from Santa Maria eight and a half minutes in as he took the play wide before snapping a shot past Boivin.
The home side kept coming and made it 5-2 at 16:40 with Kenny Belanger collected a turnover deep in Espanola territory and lifted in a high backhand from in close for his fourth of the season.
Gibson then capped off the come from behind victory in the final minute with his second of the evening on a two-man advantage as his attempt on net clipped off an Express defender and in to conclude the scoring.
Chartrand finished with 17 saves to register his first win for the Soo while Boivin was pelted with 54 shots against in a losing cause.