GALLERY: Thunderbirds rally to slip past Canadians



Release Date: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017

Thunderbirds rally to slip past Canadians

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Keegan Stevenson tally with 3:33 remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds rallied for a 6-5 victory over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League matinee Sunday at Essar Centre.

The high-scoring affair saw each side connect once in the opening 20 minutes with Kaleb Peldjak starting the scoring 17:46 into the contest for Rayside-Balfour while Zach Senecal countered with the equalizer for Sault Ste. Marie with 54 seconds left in the session.

Action in the middle stanza saw the offensive production continue as the two teams combined for six goals as each team tallied three times to knot the score at 4-4 after two periods of play.

Kyle Liinamaa struck for the Canadians at 2:06 only to see Noah Solinger tie it for the T-Birds 75 seconds later.

The back and forth affair then saw Sencal add his second of the game and 20th overall midway through to put the Soo up 3-2, but Rayside-Balfour levelled the proceedings a minute and a half after that on a Cayse Ton effort.

The scoring continued with the Thunderbirds’ Austin Kozluk and the Canadians’ Peldjack both finding the back of the net before the stanza was complete.

Liinamaa added another early in the third to put the visitors back in the lead, however Nick Smith’s ninth made it 5-5 with 11:58 to go.

In the latter stages of the contest, it was the Soo that would eventually prevail on Stevenson’s game-winner.

Brett Whitehead had three assists for the Canadians in defeat while teammate Tristam joined Soo defencemen Brandan Jay and Jake Behse with a pair of helpers apiece.

Dougie Newhouse faced 27 shots in picking up the win for the T-Birds.

Owen Johansson started for Rayside-Balfour and allowed three against on 20 attempts with Cameron Lamour suffering the loss in relief as he gave up three and made 13 saves in nearly 30 minutes of work.

Photos by James Egan’s Sports Photography