ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats withstood a late Soo Thunderbirds third period comeback, including the tying tally just as regulation time was set to expire, before Ryan Burlington notched his first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League goal in double overtime to give them a dramatic 4-3 victory Sunday night at Centennial Arena.
Elliot Lake got off to a good start in the contest as Jacob Kelly scored on an early man advantage opportunity 39 seconds into the match-up.
David Elford then put the Wildcats up by two 3:19 into the second stanza as he made no mistake after being awarded a penalty shot.
The Wildcats made it 3-0 at 12:49 of the frame off a William Bucsis effort.
Battling back, Sault Ste. Marie started their comeback just over three minutes later on Lucas Theriault’s initial marker of the season.
Moving on to the third period, Robert Calisti’s first as a member of the Thunderbirds made it 3-2 at 13:55 as he finished off a Soo power play chance.
Then with time set to run out and starter Eric Schuch on the bench in favour of an extra attacker, Nick Smith’s buzzer beater tied it and sent the game to overtime.
Action in the first OT solved nothing, but Burlington’s winning marker with 56 seconds to go in double OT pulled out the win for Elliot Lake.
Allan Menary faced 32 shots in picking up the victory for the Wildcats while Schuch saw 65 attempts in helping the Thunderbirds earn a point.
Mark Tassone had two assists for the Soo in his return to the club.