Canadians gain share of top spot in NOJHL West with victory over Thunderbirds

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – A Jordan Spadafore power play goal with 58 seconds remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Rayside-Balfour Canadians edged the Soo Thunderbirds 2-1 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Thursday at Chelmsford Arena.

The initial man advantage opportunity of the night allowed Sault Ste. Marie to open the scoring as Kaidan McDonald collected his 12th tally of the campaign 6:37 into the contest.

Rayside-Balfour drew level though midway through the session thanks to Taylor Woolcott’s 14th to knot the affair at 1-1 after one period of play.

A fast-pace, well-played second stanza saw the Canadians notch the lone marker late in the session as Spadafore provided the eventual difference maker during a man advantage opportunity at 19:02.

Rayside-Balfour goaltender Brayden Lachance was stellar finishing with 43 stops on the night to pick-up the win while Thunderbirds netminder Brandon Gordon faced 26 attempts in suffering a narrow defeat.

With the decision, the Canadians move into a first place tie in the league’s West Division with the Soo as both clubs have 73 points apiece as each team has three games remaining in the regular season.

This includes another meeting between the two sides on Tuesday, March 6 at John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie at 7:30 p.m.