GALLERY: Blind River forces Game 6 in Espanola

Photos: Helene Rancourt

BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Needing a win to keep their season going, the Blind River Beavers did just that in defeating the Espanola Paper Kings 6-1 Thursday in a spirited Game 5 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at the Blind River Community Centre.

With the victory, the Beavers trim the Paper Kings lead in the best-of-seven affair to 3-2, heading in Game 6 Friday in Espanola at 7:30 p.m.

The home side held the edge in shots in the first period, but the session ended up scoreless thanks to the efforts of the starting goaltenders, Espanola’s Jake Marois and Blind River’s Noah Tegelaar.

Action in the second stanza saw Blind River convert on a man advantage opportunity nearly 12 minutes in when Daniel Vasic slammed in the rebound off a Tyler Vorstadt attempt that rang off the post and came right out to him.

With the intensity picking up, the teams went end-to-end, but there would be no further scoring through 40 minutes.

Early in the third, the Beavers notched another one on the power play with Michael Gallagher sending a quick shot from the point the sailed past a screened Marois.

Adding one at even strength, Josh Thompson found Wyatt Gibson wide-open in front, who promptly buried his chance into the left corner.

After Jesse Dupuis wheeled out of the corner and roofed a shot on Marois to make it 4-0, the Paper Kings’ Kyle den Ouden put an end to Tegelaar’s shutout bid with 7:30 to go as he broke through the Blind River defence and fired a shot into the right side.

Countering quickly, Clark Furman converted 40 seconds later for the hosts as he finished off a nice pass from Thompson.

Another extra-man effort late in the contest saw Blind River’s Lucas Durham score on a two-on-one to round out the scoring.

NOJHL West semifinal
Blind River Beavers vs. Espanola Paper Kings
Espanola leads best-of-seven series 3-2

Game 1: Beavers 6 Paper Kings 3

Game 2: Paper Kings 7 Beavers 3
Game 3: Paper Kings 8 Beavers 1
Game 4: Paper Kings 3 Beavers 2
Game 5: Beavers 6 Paper Kings 1
Game 6:
 Friday, March 29 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)

Game 7*: Sunday, March 31 @ Blind River 2 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
*-if necessary