At the Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan on February 24th, the seventh place Soo Eagles hosted the eighth place Rayside Balfour Canadians in Northern Ontario Hockey League action. Heading into Friday’s evening’s match – up, the Eagles held a three point lead over the Canadians.
Kyle Liinamaa and Cayse Ton set up the opening goal of the contest 1:30 into the first period on Canadian Matt Neault goal. 44 seconds later, Eagle Brendan Schultz fires his 17th of the season to even the game 1 – 1 with Carmen Scarfone and Gianni Vitali adding the contributors. Brett Whitehead sinks the Rayside Balfour’s go – ahead goal 1:28 into the second period with his seventh of the season with Liinamaa and Ton drawing the helpers. The Soo’s Chris Murphy scores the Eagles tying goal at 13:57 of the period with assists coming from Scarfone and Nicholas McKeeby. Evan Krassey finds the back of Eagle Kade Phipps net 14:43 of the middle stanza to give the visitors a 3 – 2 lead with Whitehead and Liinamma adding the helpers. With time ticking down and under one second left in the period, Bradley Hofelich fires the Eagles third goal of the game threw a crowd to even the game 3 – 3 on a Soo Power play. Mckeeby and Brent Jones had the helpers on Hofelich’s 28th of the season.
1:31 into the final period, Chris Lutz sinks the Eagles fourth of the game on his ninth of the 2016 – 2017 season with assists from Vitali and Schultz. Neault and Ton find Liinamma for the Canadians fourth of the game at 2:55 of the third to bring the game tied at 4 – 4. Rayside Balfour’s Chad Deneault scores the Canadians fifth of the contest on a power play with Krassey and Tristan Simm registering the helpers. Ian Robbie gives the visitors a two goal lead 6:42 into the period with Jorge Perez and Noah Serre setting up the Canadians goal. Scoring his second of the game, Lutz closes the gap to two 12:38 with Vitali and and McKeeby adding the contributors.
Deneault finds Canadian Krassey at 14:49 of the period to bring Rayside Balfour’s lead to 7 – 5. With Eagle netminder Phipps on the bench for an extra attacker with 28 seconds left in the game, Neault sends a pass to Ton to give the Canadians a 8- 5 win over the Soo. Phipps made 30 saves in the Eagles loss in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan on Friday evening.
The Eagles are back in action on Sunday February 26th when they face the Wildcats on the road in Elliot Lake in a 7:00 p.m start at the Centennial Arena.