SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Nick Smith goal seven minutes into the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to edge the French River Rapids 2-1 in a low-scoring Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Friday at John Rhodes Community Centre.
A tightly-contested first period saw French River open the scoring late in the stanza as Jacob Romano picked up his third tally of the campaign at 18:42 with assists going to Ryan Smith and Connor Loft.
Heading to the middle stanza, Sault Ste. Marie drew level at 8:51 when Nolan Ford fired home his seventh of the season with helpers going to Noah Boman and Lucas Theriault.
It then stayed tied until just past the seven-minute mark of the third when Smith broke the deadlock to give the Thunderbirds their first lead of the night as his 18th tally of the campaign held up as the difference maker.
William Anderson made 24 stops for the home side as the league-leaders improved to 24-6-0-1.
French River goaltender Marshall Frappier finished with 34 saves in the narrow setback for the Rapids who saw their record slip to 12-20-2-1 overall.
Game Photos courtesy of Rod Aubertin – SSM Photos