ELLIOT LAKE - The Elliot Lake Bobcats stormed out to a late first period lead, exploding for three goals in a span of a minute and 22 seconds, en route to a surprise 5-3 victory over the first place Soo Thunderbirds Wednesday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Centennial Arena.
The opening period was scoreless until 16:17 of the session when Nicholas Tassone put the Bobcats on the board.
Steve Gaul extended the cushion to 2-0 just 38 seconds later before Kyle Rowe added another 44 ticks off the clock after that to put the home side up three after 20 minutes.
The league-leading Thunderbirds bounced back in the middle stanza getting markers off the sticks of Anthony Miller and Dallas McLaughlin to make it 3-2, only to see Elliot Lake's Brian Henessey notch the eventual game-winner midway through the period.
Dustin Cordeiro added some insurance early in the third extending the cushion to 5-2 before Derek Battagin rounded out the scoring with 8:47 to go for the visitors.
It was a big night for Bobcats' netminder Cory Simic who turned in a 45-save performance to register the victory helping his club improve to 9-24-0-2 in their inaugural campaign in the NOJHL.
Joel Horodziejczyk faced 38 shots in a losing cause for the T-Birds who dipped to 24-7-3-3- in defeat.
League play resumes Friday on three fronts, including Sault Ste. Marie taking on the Abitibi Eskimos at the Archie Dillon Sports Complex in Timmins.
That contest is a make-up game that was postponed earlier due in the month to inclement weather.
Friday also features North Bay at Kirkland Lake while the Bobcats will look to make it two in a row as they host Sudbury.
All three contests feature a 7:30 p.m. face-off.