CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians picked up a second straight solid playoff start from goaltender David Bowen as his 35-save shutout backstopped his club to a 1-0 victory over the Soo Eagles Sunday in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Chelmsford Arena.
With the outcome, Rayside-Balfour now leads the best-of-seven affair 2-0 heading into Game 3 Thursday at 7 p.m. at Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Like Game 1 on Saturday, Sunday’s match-up was another netminder’s duel between Bowen and Shane Brancato of the Eagles.
Neither team would convert offensively after 40 minutes as the game was scoreless through two periods of play.
Picking up an early power play in the third, the Canadians capitalized at the 42-second mark with Benjamin Hatanaka notching the night’s only tally, which was also the game-winner.
Bowen did the rest as he has now saved 66 of the first 67 shots he has seen so far in the series.
Brancato has also been sharp for Sault Ste. Marie having allowed only three against on 72 attempts through two postseason outings.
West Division semifinal
No. 2 Rayside-Balfour Canadians vs. No. 3 Soo Eagles
Canadians lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Canadians 2 Eagles 1
Game 2: Canadians 1 Eagles 0
Game 3: Thursday, March 21 @ Soo Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 4: Friday, March 22 @ Soo Eagles 7:30 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 5*: Sunday, March 24 @ Rayside-Balfour 6:30 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 6*: Tuesday, March 26 @ Soo Eagles 7 p.m. (Pullar Stadium)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 27 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)