Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – The Soo Thunderbirds rode the strength of a three-point night from Cooper Foster to help them defeat the Blind River Beavers 4-1 Wednesday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Sault Ste. Marie opened the night’s scoring 13 minutes into the match-up as Michael Chaffay scooped up a loose puck between the hash marks, then spun and fired a quick shot past Blind River netminder Patrick Boivin.
Heading to the second stanza, the intensity picked up and with a late power play, the Thunderbirds took a 2-0 lead to the intermission.
That marker came about via some crisp movement with that man advantage as they worked it around nicely, before a nice cross-ice feed found an open Foster on the left side where he whipped in his 10th tally of the season, before Boivin could get across his crease.
Striking quickly in the final frame, the Soo went up by three, 42 seconds in, as Foster wired one off the cross-bar, but Chaffay was right there to bang in the rebound, for his second of the night.
In the final minute, the Beavers dashed Thunderbirds’ netminder Noah Zeppa’s bid for his second shutout of the season as Mequire Naughton, parked in front, neatly redirected an attempt from the right point by Alexander Tingay.
However, the Soo’s Alfred Rotiroti wrapped things up by going in on a breakaway in the final moments and making no mistake to wrap-up the home ice triumph.
GAME CHANGE: The NOJHL match-up between the French River Rapids and Soo Eagles has been moved up a day, and will now be played Thursday night (Feb. 10) instead.
Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. at Pullar Stadium and can also be viewed on HockeyTV.com.