It wound up being a little closer than expected but the Soo Thunderbirds picked up an important Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League win on Saturday night.
The Thunderbirds scored four times in the second period and held off a late-game push to beat the Soo (Mich.) Eagles 7-5 at the John Rhodes Community Centre.
Trailing by a pair of goals early, the Thunderbirds got on the board with a power play goal off the stick of Jacob Kovacs late in the opening period before scoring four times in the second period to take a 5-2 lead.
After the teams traded goals in the third period, the Eagles scored a pair of late goals to cut the Thunderbirds lead to 6-5, Mackenzie Walkington sealed the win for the Thunderbirds with a goal in the final minute of regulation time.
Tyler Savard paced the Thunderbirds offensively with two goals and an assist while Walkington had a goal and an assist. Rylan Clemons and Nolan Ford assisted on a pair of goals each.
Jordan Broome, Cooper Smyl, and Avery Rebek also scored for the Thunderbirds.
Goaltender Sam Evola stopped 26 shots.
Caleb Wood and Bobby Price had a goal and an assist each for the Eagles.
Malik Ali, Jacob Bumbaco, and Eric Vanderhoff also scored for the Eagles.
Eagles netminder Shane Brancato stopped 28 shots.
The Thunderbirds return to action on Tuesday night at home against the Espanola Express. Puck drop at the John Rhodes Community Centre is 7 p.m.