Photo: Matt Stefano
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – An Anton Petrovskiy goal 3:23 into overtime was the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds came back to defeat the Blind River Beavers 4-3 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League matinee Sunday at John Rhodes Community Centre.
A Blind River man advantage marker opened the scoring, 12 and a half minutes into the match-up when defenceman Ethan Pegg unleashed a one-timer from the left faceoff dot that flew by Sault Ste. Marie starter Kolton Bourret, off a cross-ice feed from Matthew Green.
Answering with an equalizer 8:10 into the second period, Brock Santa Maria made a crafty feed behind the net over to Wyatt Marlow on the other side where he quickly buried a sharp-angle shot by Beavers’ netminder Charlie Burns.
The visitors countered quickly however with a shorthanded goal off the stick of Evan Fraccaro as he won a race and battle for the puck off an errant Thunderbirds pass and with one hand on his stick, muscled by a defender and slid his chance through the legs of Bourret, to put Blind River back in front.
An action-packed final minute of the frame saw each side score once beginning with Gavin Rocha swiping one off a Soo skater then whipping in a short-side attempt at 19:04 to put the guests up by a pair.
However, the Thunderbirds answered that 20 seconds later thanks to Youssef Chaouachi snagging his own rebound and sliding a backhand into the bottom right corner to make it a 3-2 game.
The home side then tied it just over seven minutes into the third as they completed a two-on-one with Marlow making a pass over to Justin Mauro, who put a shot upstairs before a sliding Burns could get across in time.
Heading to extra time, the Soo completed their comeback when Daniel Beaupre forced a play free along the side boards and fed an open Petrovskiy to the left of Burns where he buried the game-winner to end it.
The result sees Bourret win his fifth straight start, with the Soo improving to 18-9-2-1 overall.
As for Blind River, the setback saw them fall to 19-6-2-2.