Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – Getting some timely tallies Tuesday helped the Elliot Lake Vikings defeat the Soo Thunderbirds 4-3 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division affair at John Rhodes Community Centre.
While Sault Ste. Marie carried much of the play in the first period, it was Elliot Lake who opened the scoring, while shorthanded, at 16:32.
The marker was generated by Ryan Daponte, who powered his way along the right side boards, then sent a pass in front that was chipped over the outstretched pad of Maverick Fletcher in the Thunderbirds’ net by Gavin McLenaghan.
Answering with an early equalizer in the second stanza, the T-Birds found themselves with a three-on-one in front as they worked a play around before Jackson Truchan stuffed in his 10th tally of the season, while extending a consecutive game point streak to seven in the process.
Retaking the lead midway through the proceedings, Elliot Lake controlled a face off in the Soo zone and saw Blake Menard put an attempt towards the target from the point and eventually saw Tomas Palandra supply a close-range finish past Fletcher.
The Vikings then came right back and notched another just over a minute later, as Matthew Kallo pumped a shot from the high slot that went off the end boards and out the other side of the net where Daponte was right there to swat it in.
Pulling to within one at 14:32, Callum McAuley took a bank pass off the side wall and darted down the left wing where he ripped one past Elliot Lake goalkeeper Matthew Vahramian.
In the third, the Thunderbirds pressed hard in an effort to tie it.
They then pulled their netminder in the late going for an additional skater, however Vikings’ captain Noah Aboflan chipped the puck out of his own territory then was set-up by Max Ciesielski for an empty netter with just under two minutes to play.
Continuing to battle, the Soo’s countered that with Truchan notching his second of the night as he buried a feed from James Legler with 61 seconds remaining.
Pressing to the end, the T-Birds could not manage to notch another as the Vikings held on for the road win and put an end to the Soo’s nine-game winning streak, while coming away victorious for a second-straight outing.
The result sees Elliot Lake improve to 4-8-1-2 on the year while the Thunderbirds dropped to 11-4-2-1.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel