SUDBURY, Ont. – It was another busy day of inter-league play for four Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League teams Saturday as they took on clubs from the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) and the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).
The Blind River Beavers led the NOJHL contingent with two victories, in as many outings, while the Hearst Lumberjacks won their lone match-up of the day.
Here’s a recap of all the action:
NEPEAN RAIDERS 3 ESPANOLA PAPER KINGS 1 – In the opener of Day 2 play of the Valley Cottage Cup in Renfrew, Ont., all the scoring in this one came in the second period.
Following a goalless first, Nepean notched man advantage markers from Jordan Graham and Max Shewfelt to go up by two.
Espanola’s Grant Booth got one back for the Paper Kings, via the power play, at 17:54, only to see Graham score once more to help secure the win for the Raiders.
The penalty-filled affair saw Espanola’s Luca Straser faced 43 shots against in a losing cause, while Nepean’s Derrick Champagne and Brady McEwan combined to handle 41 of the 42 attempts they saw.
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS 5 CARLETON PLACE CANADIANS 4 – A frenzied start to the contest saw Blind River outscore their opponents 3-2 after one period of play.
Nathaniel Pretez staked the Beavers to an early edge before Carleton Place countered with a pair of markers to go in front.
Coming back before the first intermission, Blind River’s Joshua Thompson connected while his team was up a skater midway through the frame.
They then got a go-ahead goal from Michael Gallagher at 18:22.
Staying 3-2 Beavers into the third period, Thompson buried one 31 seconds in, to double their cushion.
They then saw Bryce Burnett provide what was to be the game winner at 8:16.
Carleton Place did add two later tallies to make it interesting before time expired.
Netminder Ian Wintle made 25 saves for Blind River to collect the win while the Canadians’ Charlie Larocque saw 36 shots fired his way in defeat.
RENFREW WOLVES 6 POWASSAN VOODOOS 3 – The host Wolves got off to a great start, taking a 2-0 lead before the match-up was 10 minutes in.
Striking shorthanded 8:56 into the middle session put Renfrew up by three, before Reyth Smith put the Voodoos on the board a couple of shifts later.
Up a skater late in the second, the home side added another to take a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Each side then found the back of the net twice in the final frame, including markers from Powassan’s Jackson Cullen and Mathieu MacMillan.
Tyson Wilcox and Jackson Curran both saw time in net for the Voodoos, seeing a combined 56 shots put their way in the loss.
BLIND RIVER BEAVERS 4 NEPEAN RAIDERS 1 – Skating in their second game of the day, Blind River produced another triumph in getting by Nepean.
Gaining the early edge, Bryce Burnett, at even strength, and Nathaniel Pretez, via the power play, staked the Beavers to the lead after one period of play.
Heading to the middle session, Tyler Vorstadt staked Blind River to a 3-0 lead with the lone offensive effort in the frame.
Going up by four, Jacob Kovacs scored 45 seconds into the third to put Blind River in control.
The Raiders, who pumped 36 shots on Beavers’ goaltender Richard Szajek, finally solved him with 6:42 remaining in what was the final marker of the contest.
Blind River had 27 attempts on target in the victory.
CARLETON PLACE CANADIANS 5 POWASSAN VOODOOS 2 – All business from the onset, Carleton Place scored four times in the first period to take command, featuring a pair of goals off the stick of Jace Benvie.
After the Canadians went up by five 4:45 into the second, Alex Little got one back for Powassan 10 minutes later to make it a 5-1 score.
Maintaining the same scoreline into the third period, the NOJHLers pulled a bit closer in latter stages when Reid de Bokx connected with assists going to Carson Ricci and Tyler Genovese.
That would be as close as the Voodoos would get however before the game came to an end.
Daniel Dirracollo was the goaltender of record for Powassan, seeing 27 shots sent his way.
RENFREW WOLVES 8 ESPANOLA PAPER KINGS 2 – Renfrew needed less than a minute to get on the board as Jayson Alegria scored 58 seconds into the proceedings.
That proved to be the only marker of the period as the Wolves took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Looking to remain unbeaten in Valley Cottage Cup play, Renfrew added another quick marker in the second stanza by snapping in a one-timer from the left of Espanola goaltender Jake Marois.
Coming right back, the Paper Kings’ Jack Lynes wheeled out from behind the net and whipped a shot past Wolves’ goaltender Vyacheslav Gordeichuk.
Regaining their two-goal lead just over six minutes into the frame, Nicholas Esposito had a couple of cracks at a loose puck before chipping it by Marois.
The Espanola power play then went to work to make it 3-2 as Grant Booth notched his team-leading third marker of the weekend to get the guests right back in it.
Back and forth they went with former Hearst Lumberjacks’ forward Andrew Morton getting a fortunate bounce off the end glass, which allowed him to convert for the Wolves at 12:23.
Continuing to press, Renfrew potted two more, including a last-second buzzer-beater, to go up by four after 40 minutes.
In the third, Ethan Smith’s third goal of the night extended the Wolves’ cushion before they tacked on one more to cap-off the scoring.
Marois and Luka Strasser split duties between the pipes for the Paper Kings, facing a total of 55 shots against barrage in defeat.
Espanola will now meet fellow NOJHL side Powassan Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in the tournament consolation final.
HEARST LUMBERJACKS 4 KAM RIVER FIGHTING WALLEYE 0 – Riding the shutout goaltending of Russ Decoste, the Lumberjacks evened the three-game TELECO Cup series at a win apiece with Saturday’s decision at Nor’West Arena in Oliver Paipoonge, just outside of Thunder Bay.
Like in Friday night’s narrow 2-1 win for the Walleye, the first period was scoreless thanks to the efforts of goaltender’s Decoste of Hearst and Kam River’s Riley Burnett, in which the visitors held a 13-9 edge in shots.
Heading to the middle frame, the Lumberjacks connected first, off a faceoff win, that found its way back to the right point where a waiting Adam Boucher fired a shot through a partial screen into the back of the net.
Hearst tacked on another late in the session after controlling a draw once again, which resulted in Liam Boswell feeding an open Damien Bourdon-Lemoyne parked in front, who promptly stuffed it in from close range.
Not done there, the guests converted once more after Mathieu Comeau took a Boswell feed and whipped it past Burnett from the right side to make it 3-0 Lumberjacks after two periods of play.
Extending their edge early in the final frame, Comeau worked the puck free behind the net and sent a nice back hand to the top of the crease where a waiting Bourdon-Lemoyne swatted it in.
Decoste did the rest handling everything put his way in his preseason debut.
The two teams will now meet Sunday at noon to close out the series, with the TELECO Cup awaiting the winner.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel
Valley Cottage Cup Photos: voodooshockey.com