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GALLERY: Smith strikes late as Thunderbirds rally past Gold Miners

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. A Nick Smith power play goal with just 12.5 seconds remaining in regulation finalized a late third period comeback as the Soo Thunderbirds roared back to defeat the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4-3 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Sunday matinee at John Rhodes Community Centre.

Following a scoreless opening frame, Jacob Hiltz put Kirkland Lake on the board nearly 11 minutes into the second stanza.

Sault Ste. Marie countered a couple of shifts later to knot the affair at 1-1 with Colton Hayes connecting for a third straight outing to put the home side on the board.

Heading later into the session, Hiltz added another to give the Gold Miners a one-goal cushion after two.

In the third, a two-man advantage helped the guests add to their lead when Max Newnam scored on the power play at 8:55.

After that though, the Thunderbirds struck twice close to a minute and a half apart to knot the affair at 3-3 as Tyler Savard and Matthew Bazarin converted in rapid succession with 6:32 still to play.

Then with time winding down and overtime looming, the Soo picked up a late power play and were rewarded deep in Kirkland Lake territory when the puck came to Smith, who skated into the right circle and snapped the game-winner into the opposite side of the net for his 13th goal of the season.

He also dished out two assists for a three-point afternoon.

Soo starter Colin Ahern kept his side in it and made 25 saves to record the comeback victory.

Gold Miners goaltender Kohl Reddy suffered the hard-luck setback seeing 42 shots fired his way in defeat.

Game Photos courtesy of Bob Davies