Winkler’s 3 points helps Canadians edge Thunderbirds to win 3rd straight

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians picked up two goals and an assist from Darcy Winkler to help them edge the visiting Soo Thunderbirds 4-3 Thursday night in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Chelmsford Arena.

First period play saw the home side notch the lone tally of the session when James White collected his fourth marker of the season at 17:41.

Winkler upped the Canadians’ cushion 10:59 into the middle stanza before Sault Ste. Marie countered with goals from Braden Robbins and Tyler Malpass before the frame was complete to knot the affair at 2-2.

In the third, Winkler put Rayside-Balfour back in front early on before he set-up teammate Brady Maltais at 13:45 for the eventual game-winner.

A late Thunderbirds power play allowed them to get closer on a Nick Smith effort with a minute and a half left in regulation before the Canadians tightened up defensively from there to secure the victory.

Jett Leishman dished out a pair of assists in the triumph for Rayside-Balfour.

The contest, featuring two of the NOJHL’s top goaltenders, saw MacKenzie Savard make 33 saves to post the win for the Canadians while Brandon Gordon had 31 stops in defeat for the Thunderbirds.

The victory was the third straight for Rayside-Balfour who also put an end to Sault Ste. Marie’s four-game unbeaten run in the process.