Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Gavin Rocha man advantage marker 5:14 into the third period would prove to be the game-winner as the Blind River Beavers eventually prevailed with a 4-3 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at John Rhodes Community Centre.
It was the visiting Beavers who began the scoring just past the midway mark of the first frame, on a marker that was credited to Matthew Green, for his ninth of the campaign.
Sault Ste. Marie needed just 31 seconds to draw level into the second stanza as Dharan Cap jammed at a loose puck and got it by Blind River’s Gavin Disano to see him earn at least one point in a seventh straight outing.
Coming back to retake the lead, the Beavers’ Jacob Kovacs found himself alone in front after receiving a pass, and had time to deposit his 10th of the season, in beating Thunderbirds’ goalkeeper Kolton Bourret.
On the power play late in the frame the Beavers took a 3-1 lead into the intermission after Caleb Minns was set-up in the slot and saw his shot elude T-Birds goalkeeper Kolton Bourret.
In the third, another extra man effort by the visitors made 4-1 as Rocha put one into the open side off some crisp puck movement.
Battling back, the Thunderbirds made it interesting as they pulled closer.
Wyatt Marlow had one for the Soo with half a period to play as he converted from close range.
They then saw Kaden Dundas click at 17:46 as he fired a shot from up top that sailed through a maze of bodies and find its way in.
The T-Birds then pressed hard for the equalizer to try and force overtime, but the Beavers held on in the closing moments for the narrow road victory.
The result sees Blind River (29-10-2-2) move past the Thunderbirds (28-11-2-2) into sole possession of second spot in the NOJHL’s West Division.