Photos: Allyson Demers
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – A pair of Nolan Hendry third period markers broke open a close game and sent the Soo Eagles on their way to a 6-2 triumph over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Friday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
On the night’s initial penalty call, the Eagles converted quickly, nearly14 minutes into the match-up, as Kenny Belanger Jr. whipped in his seventh of the season as Sault Ste. Marie struck moments after his side controlled the draw.
In the middle session, a diligent forecheck by Gold Miners’ forward Luca Maiuri saw him corral the puck and send a quick feed to Alex McDonald between the hash marks, who quickly fired a shot past Eagles’ goalkeeper Logan Raffaele at 3:14.
Regaining the lead with three minutes left in the second, the Soo’s Bryce Grandboise moved from behind the net, then pulled up and beat Kirkland Lake netminder John Lloyd with a high short-side shot from a sharp angle.
Extending their edge early in the third, Eagles captain Jack Mortson scrambled a draw, which allowed Nolan Hendry to move in a fire a low attempt from the left circle past a screened Lloyd.
It was more from the Soo duo a couple of shifts later, with Mortson sending a cross-ice feed over to Hendry, who buried it during a man advantage.
Up a skater again, the visitors put the game away at 6:50 when defenceman Lane Janssen fired one through a maze from the point to notch his initial league marker.
On a two-man advantage with a couple of minutes remaining, the hosts drew a bit closer as Nikolas Joniec batted in a McDonald attempt from the opposite side for third of the season.
The Soo came back to cap off the road victory in the final moments as Vincent Anderson went top shelf, blocker-side, for a shorthanded effort to finish off the result.