NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE
Release Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Gaudet the OT hero as Eagles eliminate Wildcats and advance to take on rival Thunderbirds
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Roman Gaudet’s second goal of the game, coming 10:54 into overtime, was the game-winner as the Soo Eagles rallied to defeat the Elliot Lake Wildcats 4-3 in the third and deciding contest of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division quarter-final at Pullar Stadium.
With the triumph, Sault Ste. Marie wins the series 2-1 and now advances to the West Division semifinal where they will take on the cross-border rival Soo Thunderbirds in a best-of-seven affair.
Action in the opening 20 minutes of Tuesday’s match-up saw each side score once on the power play with Nick Long connecting for Elliot Lake at 7:21 while William Casey countered for Sault Ste. Marie seven and a half minutes later.
The Wildcats came out strong to begin the second stanza and connected twice on efforts from Taylor Woolcott at even strength and Jacob Kelly during a man advantage to go up 3-1.
Up a man midway through the session, the Soo pulled to within one compliments of Jake Saxton.
The Eagles then tied it in the latter stages of the second, moments after a power play where they had multiple chances, Gaudet dart in alone on a breakaway where he made no mistake snapping the equalizer past Elliot Lake starter Matt Kostiw at 18:14.
After a scoreless third period, where both sides had solid opportunities to score, extra time was needed to determine a winner.
It was there in OT that the Eagles prevailed with Brent Jones darting into the Elliot Lake zone wide on the right side and letting go a low attempt that Kostiw could not corral as the puck bounced back to a partially open Gaudet who won it by firing a backhand past the outstretched pad of the Wildcats’ netminder to end it.
Jones chipped in with assists on both of Gaudet’s tallies.
Kade Phipps made 33 saves to pick up the win for the Soo while Kostiw suffered the hard-luck defeat as he faced 46 Eagles shots along the way.
WEST DIVISION QUARTER-FINAL
No. 4 Soo Eagles vs. No. 5 Elliot Lake Wildcats
Soo wins best-of-three series 2-1
Game 1: Soo Eagles 4 Elliot Lake 1
Game 2: Elliot Lake 4 Soo Eagles 3 (OT)
Game 3: Soo Eagles 4 Elliot Lake 3 (OT)