Photos: Helene Rancourt
BLIND RIVER, Ont. – An Evan Fraccaro goal, with 4:38 remaining in regulation, proved to be the game-winner, as the Blind River Beavers defeated the French River Rapids 4-2 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Sunday afternoon at the Blind River Community Centre.
The contest was scoreless until the waning moments of the first period when the Beavers’ Jesse Dupuis scooped up a turnover in French River territory, then chipped it around a defender and proceeding to wire one over the blocker of Rapids’ netminder Cole Sheffield at 19:50.
The tally for Dupuis was his 10th of the season as he scored for a third-straight outing.
Countering with the equalizer, early in the middle session, Dominik Godin bagged his 23rd of the campaign when he snapped one past Blind River starter Gavin Disano from the left circle just 82 seconds in.
Skating in his 100th NOJHL game, Caleb Minns put the hosts back on top late in the second as he jammed in his 15th after having a couple of whacks at the puck while parked in front of a sprawled Sheffield.
Adding some insurance in the latter stages of the third, Fraccaro took a nice cross-ice pass from Dupuis before ripping one glove side for his ninth of 2021-22.
Moments later, Blind River had a chance to put the game away, but Sheffield calmly outwaited Jacob Kovacs and thwarted him on a penalty shot.
Buoyed by that stop, the Rapids’ Chase Thompson converted seconds later as he found himself free in close and slid one under the stick of Disano.
However, with Sheffield out for an extra attacker, Minns picked off an errant puck near his own blueline, then got it over to Kovacs, who skated up and slid it into the empty net to round of the scoring.
The win, picked up by Disano, was the third straight for the Beavers as they improved to 17-12-2-0 on the season.
Sheffield was solid, despite the setback, as French River slipped to 17-18-1-0.