Dryden's Kendall Schulz (left) and Thunder Bay's Jett Leishman tangle on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 at Fort William Gardens. (Leith Dunick, tbnewsatch.com)

Thunder Bay survives late Dryden rally with OT triumph

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Cody Bruchkowski’s Superior International Junior Hockey League-leading 30th goal of the season, coming 14 seconds into overtime, helped the Thunder Bay North Stars survive a Dryden GM Ice Dog third period rally as they pulled out a narrow 4-3 decision in extra time Friday evening at the Fort William Gardens.

Thunder Bay got going early as Jett Leishman scored 37 seconds into the contest.

Teammate Nikolas Campbell added to the North Stars lead at the 13-minute mark of the first frame to put the hosts up by two.

They then grabbed a 3-0 cushion with the lone marker of the second stanza as Alex Erwin potted his eighth of the campaign.

Dryden began their comeback early in the third as Justin Pitari potted one before the session was a minute old.

Pitari then converted on the power play at 16:11 as his second of the night and 18th overall brought the visitors to within one.

Building on their momentum, the GM Ice Dogs tied it with 1:37 remaining in regulation off the stick of Nolan Marshall to force extra time.

In the OT though, Bruchkowski buried the game-winner in the opening moments to help Thunder Bay survive with the home ice victory.

The North Stars out shot Dryden 45-34 with Jordan Smith getting the win while Jacob Anthony kept the guests in it long enough to help them salvage a point.

Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com