ESPANOLA, Ont. – Getting a goal and an assist apiece from Malik Ali and Joel Brandinger the Soo Eagles went on to a skate to their third straight Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory with a 5-3 road decision over the Espanola Express at the Regional Recreation Complex.
A flurry of first period activity saw Sault Ste. Marie strike four times in just over a six-minute span to take early control of the contest.
After Nolan Dresch collected his initial NOJHL tally to get the Eagles going, George Orfanos notched a shorthanded marker to put the guests up by a pair.
Espanola got one back at 14:38 on Brennen Martel’s first in league play to cut into the deficit.
However, the Soo tacked on two more before the frame was complete off the sticks of Jacob Bumbaco, with his opening NOJHL maker and Ali’s fifth of the campaign to make it 4-1 after one.
Brandinger then added to the Eagles cushion with the lone goal of the second stanza as they carried a bigger lead into the third.
The final session did see the Express get two back as Camilo Rodrigue-Melo’s first and Jakob Fahey’s fourth brought Espnaola closer, but the Soo tightened up defensively from there to pull out the win.
Shane Brancato was the winning nettender for the Eagles.
Express netminders Joel Rainville and Andrew Rocha both saw time in goal in the defeat.