BLIND RIVER, Ont. – The visiting Soo Thunderbirds built up a four-goal lead then withstood a comeback bid by the Blind River Beavers before eventually prevailing 4-3 Sunday afternoon in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League matinee at the Blind River Community Centre.
Sault Ste. Marie got off to a solid start as they collected a pair of markers in the back half of the first period on tallies from Kurtis Rogers and Jacob Kovacs, who collected his team-leading 26th, during a man advantage opportunity.
The Thunderbirds came out quickly in the middle stanza to extend their lead as Cooper Smyl connected 39 seconds in to make it 3-0.
Up a skater later in the session, Tyler Savard got what proved to be the game-winner at 14:11.
Blind River got going offensively late in the frame as Caleb Serre provided his NOJHL-leading 46th of the season at 18:44 as he converted on a penalty shot before teammate Kyle Quinn tacked on his 16th marker just before the period expired.
The Beavers then moved to within one early in the third as Andrew Malek notched his 15th a minute and a half in.
However, the Soo held firm from there to hold on and secure the road victory.
Kovacs also added two assists for the Soo as the rookie forward registered his 14th multi-point performance of the campaign.
Shots on goal favoured the Thunderbirds by a 48-34 count with Dakota Meyer picking up the win while Jackson Hjelle suffered the loss.