ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – A Roman Lamoureux backhand marker in the sixth round of the shootout proved to be the decider as the Elliot Lake Wildcats prevailed with a 3-2 victory over the Soo Thunderbirds in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Wednesday evening at Centennial Arena.
Elliot Lake gained the edge early as they skated out to a 1-0 lead after one period of play on Logan Gallagher’s fifth of the season, which came at 18:36.
Moving to the middle stanza, Sault Ste. Marie drew level near the midway point of the session on a Kurtis Rogers effort.
Going to the power play a few shifts later, the Thunderbirds went on top thanks to Tyler Savard, who finished off the work of teammates Rylan Clemons and Jacob Kovacs.
On a man advantage themselves before the second was complete, the Wildcats tied it at 17:27 on Connor Taylor’s 17th as the clubs hit the intermission knotted at 2-2.
In the third, neither side would convert offensively, sending things to overtime to try and decide a winner.
The five-minute OT also saw no scoring, so off to extra shots they went.
After three saves, Taylor snapped a shot past Soo starter Sam Evola to give the hosts the edge.
Needing to convert to keep it going, Kovacs did just that for the Thunderbirds as he tucked one through the legs of Elliot Lake goaltender Jonathan Lemaire.
Then the next six attempts were thwarted, setting the stage for Lamoureux to skate in, make a quick deke to his right and lift the puck just over the outstretched pad of Evola with a backhand to give the Wildcats the decision.
Lemaire finished with 38 stops in 65 minutes of work, and handled five of six in the shootout, to record the win while Evola made 47 saves to help the Soo pickup a point in defeat.
Game Photos courtesy of Northern Exposures Photography