Wildcats strike late to surprise Eagles

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – An Austin Brunet breakaway goal with just four seconds remaining lifted the Elliot Lake Wildcats to a late 4-3 road victory, in stunning fashion, over the Soo Eagles in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Sunday evening at Pullar Stadium.

Sault Ste. Marie started the night’s scoring five and a half minutes in as Eric Vanderhoff picked up his 23rd tally of the season.

The Eagles then upped their lead at 13:26 as Vanderhoff notched his second of the period and 24th overall.

Elliot Lake came right back after that though as defenceman Curtis Gervais notched his first NOJHL to put the guests on the board, as he converted during a man advantage opportunity.

The power play helped the Wildcats add another and level the proceedings with Connor Taylor picking up his 16th overall.

They then went in front at 6:31 as Hayden Daca deposited his fifth to put the visitors into the lead.

Countering quickly, Jake Lamberty tied things up once more as his effort gave him a personal single-season-best 28 points on the year to help send the squads to the intermission even at 3-3.

Then with time winding down and overtime looming, there was a faceoff deep in Elliot Lake territory, but as the puck went back to the point off the draw, an Eagles defender lost his balance just enough to allow Brunet to dart past him and in alone where he promptly wired the game-winner into the top left hand corner to give his side the dramatic triumph.

The win helped the hard-working Wildcats to improve to 1-1-2 in February.

Jonathan Lemaire was brilliant in net for Elliot Lake as his 64 saves in regulation kept his side in it long enough for Brunet to provide the late-game heroics.

Soo goaltender Ryan Gilmore faced 32 attempts in defeat for the Soo.