BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Devin Mauro notched the tying tally in the third period, then collected the difference maker in the shootout, as the Blind River Beavers edged the Soo Thunderbirds 5-4 in a see-saw Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Saturday night at the Blind River Community Centre.
A fortuitous break helped Blind River get on the board early when Ethan Pegg fired an attempt towards the Sault Ste. Marie net that clipped off the stick of a Thunderbirds’ defender in front and trickled into the open side past Alex Bugeja just 22 seconds in.
Going to the power play near the midway mark of the first frame saw the Soo notch the equalizer as Noah Boman snapped one in from the right side that eluded Beavers netminder Gavin Disano.
The home side regained the lead with a man advantage effort of their own at 13:34 as Spencer Kennedy cranked a shot from the right point that was stopped by Bugeja, but the rebound went right to Noah Minns, who promptly buried his seventh of the season.
A quick strike in the second stanza saw the Soo draw level once again when Parker Morgan chipped a chance out of his own zone then rushed down the ice before a couple of short-range passes was finished off by Ty Zachary just 22 seconds into the session.
Back and forth they continued as Blind River went back on top as Pegg potted his second of the evening as he went top shelf from the left faceoff circle while his side was up a skater.
Answering back once more, the Thunderbirds had a couple of opportunities from close range that was eventually stuffed in by Kurtis Rogers, for his second point of the period.
A nice rush around the net and feed to the top of the crease to a waiting Boman by Dylan Parsons was quickly one-timed in to give the visitors their first lead of the evening.
Battling back in the third, the Beavers levelled the proceedings once more when Devin Mauro converted from close range with 8:52 remaining in regulation.
Quality chances at both ends were saved by the opposing goalkeepers in the late going, which sent the match-up to extra shots to determine a winner.
In the shootout, Blind River’s Jacob Kelly and the Soo’s Andrew Rebek both scored on nice moves before Mauro won it for the hosts as he darted in and quickly snapped in the decider, blocker side, to give his side the extra point in the game.
Making 48 saves helped Disano collect the victory while Bugeja saw 46 attempts fired his way in the narrow defeat.
The two teams are back it Sunday in a 4 p.m. start back in Blind River.
It can be viewed online via HockeyTV.com.