Game Photos: Bob Davies
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A pair of Brock Santa Maria markers, including the game-winner, helped propel the Soo Thunderbirds to an eventual 3-2 triumph over the visiting Elliot Lake Red Wings Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Taking a minute and a half to open the night’s proceedings, Sault Ste. Marie’s Tyson Doucette picked off a play and came in on a partial break where he made a couple of quick dekes before getting enough of his chance to slide it past Elliot Lake starter Colton Donaldson.
The Thunderbirds then tacked on another, late into a man advantage a few minutes later, when Santa Maria connected for his seventh of the season as he scored for a third-straight outing.
On the play, he made a nice move around a Red Wings’ defender while going towards the net from the right side then snapped one upstairs to make it 2-0.
Getting one back on the power play themselves, the visitors Kaden Laverdiere saw a shot block off an Alex Antoine left point attempt bounce right to him where he quickly finished off his opportunity in beating Soo starter Noah Metivier.
Retaking a two-goal edge in the second stanza, Santa Maria added another just over five minutes in off a nice individual rush down the left wing as he cut around an Elliot Lake defenceman then put one upstairs, short side, at 5:13.
Staying 3-1 for the hosts into the third, the Red Wings pulled their netminder for an extra skater and did get one back with 10 seconds remaining as Jovani Moses banged in the rebound off an Ethan Mercer shot through a crowd from the left point.
That would be it however as the Thunderbirds ran off the final moments to get the win.
Metivier faced 16 attempts to pick up the decision for the Soo while Elliot Lake’s Donaldson was busy in the narrow loss keeping his club in it, as he saw a personal season-high 48 pucks fired his way.