A pair of third period goals were the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds dropped a narrow 4-3 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League decision to the Rayside Balfour Canadians on Thursday night in Chelmsford.
Darcy Winkler and Brady Maltais had goals for the Canadians in the final period, breaking a 2-2 tie at that point in the contest.
Nick Smith would pull the Thunderbirds to within one with 1:31 to go in regulation time but the visitors couldn’t pull even and saw its record drop to 6-3-1-0 through 10 games.
Tyler Malpass and Braden Robbins had the other goals for the Thunderbirds.
Goaltender Brandon Gordon stopped 31 shots for the Thunderbirds.
Winkler finished the night with two goals for Rayside to give him four on the season and also set up Maltais’ eventual game-winner. James White also scored for the Canadians while Jett Leishman assisted on two goals.
Rayside goaltender MacKenzie Savard stopped 33 shots.
Rayside improves to 6-3-0-0 with the win.
Of note, through action on Thursday, four of the six teams in the NOJHL’s West Division have six wins – the Thunderbirds, Rayside, Blind River and Elliot Lake.
The Thunderbirds will return to action on Saturday night, at home, against Elliot Lake in a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at the John Rhodes Community Centre.