CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The first game of the 2018 portion of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s regular season proved to be a high-scoring affair that saw the Blind River Beavers post a 7-6 decision over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians Thursday evening at Chelmsford Arena.
Action in the opening 20 minutes saw both clubs firing offensively as each side scored three times in the session.
Brandon Atkins and Taylor Woolcott staked the Canadians to a 2-0 lead just over two minutes into the contest.
Battling back, Blind River countered with markers, just 12 seconds apart, courtesy of Jack Sampson and Dylan McMahon.
A Jordan Spadafore power play effort put Rayside-Balfour back in front 15 minutes into the frame before Josh Norman levelled the proceedings once more before the first was complete.
Moving on to the middle stanza, the Beavers’ Norman converted during a man advantage at 7:41 while teammate Caleb Serre struck shorthanded at 15:07.
Up a skater themselves, the home side’s Woolcott pulled to within one a couple shifts later to make it a 5-4 score after 40 minutes.
The back and forth match-up saw Woolcott finish off a hat trick 65 seconds into the third while Rayside-Balfour had a player in the penalty box to knot it 5-5.
The goals kept coming though as Owen Robinson came right back during the same power play to put Blind River back into the lead.
Undaunted, the Canadians connected once more getting the equalizer off the stick of Brady Maltais at 7:16 to tie things up yet again.
However, the Beavers would get the night’s final goal midway through the period when McMahon’s 20th of the campaign came just three seconds into a man advantage in what proved to be the game-winner.
Sampson and Max Khull had two assists apiece for Blind River in the victory while Spadafore and Jacob Partridge chipped in with two helpers each for the Canadians.
Rayside-Balfour held the edge in shots on goal by a 48-22 margin with Garrett Boyonoski picking up the win and Brayden Lachance the loss.
Photos courtesy of Rob and Caleigh Fera: www.sudburylight.ca