ESPANOLA, Ont. – Ian Zaleski’s second goal of the game, coming with 8:25 remaining in regulation, helped the Blind River Beavers rally for a 3-2 come from behind triumph over the Espanola Express Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair in front of nearly 500 spectators at the Regional Recreation Complex.
First period play saw Blind River carry a large edge in shots, but they could not solve Express starter Joel Rainville who was there to handle all 16 shots in the frame.
Espanola did get on the board to get things going at 10:38 of the opening session with Adam Morgan burying his first NOJHL goal.
An early power play in the second helped the home team go up by a pair as Chase Lammi converted during a man advantage for his opening league marker.
The Beavers would eventually solve Rainville at 8:52 of the middle stanza with Ian Zaleski picking up his first goal as a member of the Blind River organization.
Building on that, the visitors drew level with just over four minutes remaining in the session thanks Brendan Young joining the initial tally group on opening night.
They then completed their comeback off the stick of Zaleski in the back half of the third to finish off the rally.
Beavers’ captain Caleb Serre assisted on his club’s final two tallies.
Maxim Sidelnik started for Blind River making 23 stops in a winning debut while Rainville was stellar between the pipes for the Express, despite the defeat, finishing with 46 saves on 49 attempts.
The same two teams will wrap-up a season-opening home-and-home set Saturday in a 7 p.m. start at the Blind River Community Centre.