SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A four-goal second period outburst, coming seven and a half minutes apart, sent the Soo Thunderbirds to an eventual 8-1 triumph over the Blind River Beavers Thursday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at John Rhodes Community Centre.
The hometown Thunderbirds began the night’s scoring near the midway mark of the first frame as Noah Boman jammed one in from close range with a back hand effort that got past Beavers’ netminder Wyatt Courchaine.
Breaking in on a man advantage in the last half of the stanza, Blind River drew level when Justin Mauro and Spencer Kennedy combined to feed Matt Cato on the right side of the net where he whipped in his sixth of season into the open side on Soo starter Alex Bugeja.
Up a skater early in the second, the Thunderbirds regained the lead after Brock Santa Maria ripped a shot end ended up on the stick of Warner Young on a sharp angle in the right corner where he fired the puck towards the net and it found its way in to make it 2-1 for the hosts.
A nice back pass from behind the net from Andrew Malek aided in a third Soo tally as his effort found Santa Maria, who finished off the play from close range at 5:24.
Continuing to press, the Soo struck again by tacking on two more beginning with Warner connecting three minutes later to spell the end of Courchaine’s night.
However, the hosts greeted Blind River back-up Gavin Disano on the next shift as Michael Chaffay clicked to notch his sixth of the season.
It was more Thunderbirds in the third when Boman forced a turnover that resulted in Russell Oldham burying one from the slot for his initial NOJHL tally.
Parker Morgan then added one more for the Soo with 5:42 remaining while Young finished off his first league hat trick with a long-range empty netter in the final minute to round out the scoring.
Young also added an assist for a four-point night.
Shots on net finished 49-34 in the Thunderbirds’ favour with Bugeja picking up the victory.
Courchaine faced 28 attempts in defeat while Disano handled 17 of 20 in relief.
The two clubs will wrap-up their seven-game set this weekend with Blind River hosting the first game at 7 p.m. Saturday while the finale goes in the Soo at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Both match-ups can be seen online via HockeyTV.com.