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Late goal ruins Thunderbirds comeback bid

Soo Thunderbirds goaltender Eric Schuch had a busy night, facing 64 shots
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A pair of goals in the final period and a great goaltending performance wasn’t quite enough for the Soo Thunderbirds on Sunday night.

The team salvaged a point, thanks to two goals in the third period that would force overtime, but Ryan Burlington scored in the final minute of the second overtime frame to give the Elliot Lake Wildcats a 4-3 win over the Thunderbirds in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action.

The win spoiled an outstanding performance from Thunderbirds netminder Eric Schuch, who stopped 60 shots in the contest, including 52 in regulation time.

Burlington finished the night with a goal and an assist for the Wildcats.

The Thunderbirds forced overtime thanks to a goal by Nick Smith in the final second of regulation time. Smith now has 17 goals on the season.

Defenceman Robert Calisti also had a goal in the third period for the Thunderbirds. Lucas Theriault has the other goal for the Thunderbirds, who trailed 3-0 before battling back.

Brendan Miller assisted on a pair of Soo goals.

Jacob Kelly, David Elford, and William Bucsis also scored for Elliot Lake. Meanwhile, Wildcats goaltender Allan Menary stopped 27 shots.

The loss drops the Thunderbirds record to 14-6-2-0. With 30 points, the Thunderbirds sit one point back of the Rayside Balfour Canadians and Blind River Beavers, who are tied for top spot in the NOJHL’s West Division.

Elliot Lake improves to 10-16-1-0.

Next up for the Thunderbirds is a trio of home games, beginning on Nov. 17 against the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at the John Rhodes Community Centre. The homestand will see the team play three games in as many days including matchups with Rayside Balfour and Elliot Lake.