Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Soo Eagles got two goals from their captain Kenny Belanger Jr., Friday as part of a 4-2 victory over the visiting Blind River Beavers in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Pullar Stadium.
A friendly bounce helped Sault Ste. Marie strike first as Coby Fox dumped one in from mid-ice that Blind River netminder Iain Wintle could not contain, which allowed Jack Paweski to swoop in a bury the loose puck.
The Eagles came right back on the next shift and went up by a pair while breaking out of the own zone, then seeing Benjamin Pouliot set-up a hard-charging Belanger Jr., in the slot, where he whipped a shot past the glove of Wintle.
Adding a third on the night, during a delayed penalty late in the second period, Easton Pratt fired a rising shot from the left point that sailed through a crowd before hitting iron and falling into the net for his initial NOJHL tally.
On the power play to begin the third, the Beavers got on the board at 1:14 when defenceman Andrey Manov glided in and took a pass from Josh Thompson and buried it before Eagles’ goaltender Marino Ramirez could get across with his pad to keep it out.
The guests then pulled to within one with under eight minutes to go compliments of Thompson, who drove hard to the net and guided in a Manov cross-crease feed, while the two sides were playing four skater aside.
However, Belanger Jr., provided some insurance in the latter stages of the contest as he benefitted from a turnover and sailed a shot from the side boards through some bodies congregating near the front of the net to finish things off offensively.
The outcome sees the Eagles move to 3-2-0-1 on the season while the Beavers fell to 5-2-0-0.