After opening the weekend on home ice with a disappointing loss on Friday night, a big period lifted the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Soo Thunderbirds to a key win over a division rival on Saturday night.
The Thunderbirds scored four times in the third period to beat the Rayside Balfour Canadians 5-2 Saturday at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
Nick Smith paced the Thunderbirds with two goals and two assists for the Thunderbirds, who outshot the Canadians 22-8 in the final period and 46-28 overall.
Mark Tassone chipped in with a goal and two assists for the Thunderbirds while Camaryn Baber had a goal and an assist. Alex Acosta had the other goal for the Thunderbirds.
Netminder Brandon Gordon made 26 saves for the Thunderbirds.
Rayside Balfour goaltender MacKenzie Savard made 41 saves.
Jordan Spadafore and Evan Krassey completed the scoring for the Canadians.
The Thunderbirds improve to 15-7-2-0 and move to within a point of the West Division-leading Canadians and Blind River Beavers, who also won on Saturday to move into a tie atop the division with the Canadians.
Rayside falls to 16-7-0-1.
The Thunderbirds wrap up a three-game weekend homestand on Sunday night against the Elliot Lake Wildcats in a 7:30 p.m. start at the John Rhodes Community Centre.