Declan Gallivan connected midway through the contest with what proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Thunderbirds went on to defeat the Elliot Lake Vikings 4-2 Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League neutral site affair at the Blind River Community Centre.
Sault Ste. Marie needed just 32 seconds to notch the opening goal thanks to Kaden Dundas, who cruised in from the point and roofed a shot over the glove of Elliot Lake starter Matthew Vahramian from between the circles.
Forced to play their home games away from a closed Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake, the Vikings came back to tie it near the midway mark of the first when Connor Desbois neatly tipped in a Garrett Nystrom attempt from up top past Thunderbirds’ netminder Connor Hatfield for his initial NOJHL tally.
Regaining the lead at 13:31, the Soo caught Elliot Lake on a pinch and came out of their own zone on an odd-man rush that led to a pair of back passes and defenceman Tyler Entwhistle going to net where he jammed in his first league marker from the side of the crease.
Extending their edge just over nine minutes into the second stanza, Gallivan made it 3-1 with a well-placed snap shot off a give-and-go with Daniel Beaupre.
Going to the third, the Vikings got one while shorthanded near the half-way point of the period as Tomas Palandra did the work in forcing a turnover right in front of the Soo net and stuffing in the unassisted man-down marker.
Elliot Lake then got their goalie out late for an extra attacker in an effort to tie it and send it to overtime, however the Thunderbirds’ Jackson Truchan secured the victory after swiping the puck off a defender, then skating down the ice and sliding a shot into the empty net in the final minute to round out the scoring.
The win moves the Soo to 3-3-1-1 on the year while the Vikings dipped to 1-6-1-0.