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Thunder finally snap winless skid

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The Borderland Thunder got one back in the win column here Sunday after doubling the last-place Thunder Bay Wolves 4-2, ending a seven-game winless streak.

The Thunder (8-7-5) avoided falling below the .500 mark for the first time since the opening weekend of the season, but still sit in third place in the Superior International Junior Hockey League standings.

The loss was the last of three for the struggling Wolves (1-16-1), who dropped a pair of games to the Dryden Ice Dogs (10-3 and 6-1) earlier on the weekend.

“That’s a big win for us,” Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan said. “To get back on the winning track sure feels good. But we have to build on it now.”

Kevin Webb opened the scoring midway through the first, but the Wolves tied it when forward Zac Donatis scored seconds after a face-off to the left of goalie Tom Iwaniec with under a minute left in the period.

Then in the second, defenceman Josh Gribben scored on a short-handed break after a botched Thunder pass at the blueline to give the Wolves the lead.

But it didn’t hold. Matt Johnson fed a cutting Ian Lockman from behind the net to tie the game, then Cole Hayward netted the eventual game-winner at the 12:28 mark of the third when he slid a rebound past Wolves goalie Mark Hardicjowski after a shot from the point by Kris Esselink.

Chad Baldwin popped in a pretty shot while falling forward at the side of the net on the power-play to round out the scoring at the 4:55 mark.

The Thunder will visit Thunder Bay this weekend for a trio of games against the Wolves at the Tournament Centre. Their next set of home games is slated Dec. 14-15 against the Feathermen Hawks (Thunder Bay).

In other SIJHL action from the weekend, the Hawks (12-6-2) took two from the Thunder Bay Bulldogs (8-8-1) by scores of 6-5 and 5-3 at the Fort William Gardens.

Friday’s game got ugly in the third period as an all-out brawl ensued between the teams to the point where players climbed the glass partition between benches to get at each other.

One sequence saw Bulldog forward John Antoniak throw a chair at the Hawks’ bench, which in turn was heaved back by Feathermen coach Todd Howarth.

Nine police officers had to be called in to break up the melee. In all, 23 suspensions were handed out by the league.

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