Photo: Matt Stephano
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Jackson Truchan tally 1:46 into overtime was the difference Friday as the surging Soo Thunderbirds pulled out a narrow 4-3 triumph over the Soo Eagles in an entertaining Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest held at John Rhodes Recreation Centre.
The Eagles got the game’s initial goal as they broke out in transition and saw Chase Tallaire take a Nolan Hendry feed then drive to the net and make a quick move to the left before tucking it past Thunderbirds’ starter Landon Miller.
Forcing a turnover, the Michigan side then made it 2-0 at the 11-minute mark of the first period as Jack Paweski buried one from in tight, from the left of the net.
Moving to free-wheeling middle stanza, the Thunderbirds connected twice moments apart to level the score at 2-2.
Daniel Beaupre got the first one at 5:24 as he slid a shot through the legs of Eagles’ netminder Logan Raffaele from in close.
The home side then came right back less than a minute later with Wyatt Marlow darting down the left wing and ripping one into the top right-hand corner.
It was more T-Birds, moments after being foiled by Raffaele on a two-man break, when Michael Chaffay slammed in a one-timer from the slot for his fifth of the year.
Drawing even before the period came to a close, the Eagles tied it while up a skater thanks to Bryce Grandboise tipping in a Colin Handy blast from the point.
After a tight-checking scoreless third period, the two rivals headed to extra time to try and determine a winner.
There, the Thunderbirds won their fifth game in succession as Marlow made a perfect pass to a hard-charging Truchan who neatly redirected in the game-winner over the blocker of Raffaele to end it.
The result sees the T-Birds continue their winning ways, improving to 9-6-0-1 on the season while the Eagles picked up a point in defeat and fell to 6-5-1-0 overall.