Goals 1:36 apart in the third period were the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds picked up a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory on Tuesday night at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
The Thunderbirds skated to a 5-3 win over the Blind River Beavers Tuesday thanks to goals by Kurtis Rogers and Cooper Smyl in the late stages of regulation time.
With the Thunderbirds on the power play, Rogers found himself in the slot and converted a feed from Ethan Novello with 8:33 to go.
Rogers’ goal came after the Beavers had erased a 3-1 Thunderbirds lead earlier in the period.
Smyl sealed the win with 5:45 to go as he scored on a rebound after Noah Boman’s initial chance shorthanded was stopped by Beavers goaltender Gavin Disano.
Smyl’s goal was the Thunderbirds second shorthanded marker of the contest.
Blind River got the game back to even terms after goals by Jacob Kelly and Matt Cato 2:07 apart early in the third period.
Trailing 3-1 at the time, Kelly pulled Blind River to within one as he beat Thunderbirds goaltender Scott Young glove side from the slot with the Beavers on a two-man advantage at 2:48 of the third.
The goal was Kelly’s 11th of the season.
Matt Cato then tied the game for Blind River at 4:55 of the period as he beat Young short side from the right faceoff circle through traffic.
Michael Chaffay opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds with just under five minutes to go in the opening period, only to see Thomas Michaud tie the game for Blind River on the power play with 43 seconds to go in the period.
The Thunderbirds went up 3-1 thanks to goals by Connor Toms, shorthanded, and Andrew Malek 59 seconds apart in the second period.
Toms finished the night with a goal and an assist.
Young made 40 saves for the Thunderbirds in the win.
Kelly had a goal and an assist for the Beavers while Disano made 32 saves.
The two teams return to action on Saturday afternoon in a 2 p.m. start at the Blind River Community Centre.