BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Gage Stephney had the tying tally in regulation then provided the difference maker in the shootout as the Soo Thunderbirds earned a narrow 4-3 decision over the Blind River Beavers in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Saturday at the Blind River Community Centre.
Nash Hatcher got Blind River going 57 seconds after the opening face off only to see Nolan Ford tie it for Sault Ste. Marie on a power play just over a minute later.
Riley Nadeau came right back for the Beavers though to put them back in front at 3:10, but the back and forth session saw Tanner Mayne provide the equalizer for the Thunderbirds before the frame was complete.
Nadeau gave the home side their third lead of the night 3:38 into the second stanza, however the Soo’s Stepney answered that less than 10 minutes later to knot the affair at 3-3.
The contest stayed level right through the remainder of regulation and overtime to send it to the shootout to decide a winner.
There, Stephney and Tyler Malpass scored for the Thunderbirds in extra shots to help them prevail with the road win.
William Anderson made 27 saves, plus two more in the shootout, to pick up the victory for the Soo with Blind River’s Thomson Phinney seeing 27 shots in the setback, but helping his club earn a point in the standings.
With the decision, the Thunderbirds extended their lead in the West Division as they improved to 17-5 on the year while the third place Beavers fell to 12-8-4-1 overall.