PHOTOS: Caleigh Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – The Greater Sudbury Cubs broke open a tie game midway through the second period and went on to defeat the French River Rapids 6-3 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Thursday evening at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Greater Sudbury began the night’s scoring just 72 seconds into the proceedings as Samuel Assinewai powered his way around a French River defender then went in and neatly tucked the puck between the legs of Rapids’ starter Brady Dyer for his 13th goal of the season.
Adding to their lead late in the first frame, the Cubs’ Marshall McCharles had a couple of cracks at it before launching one over the blocker of Dyer with a wrist shot from between the hashmarks, in joining Assinewai with 13 tallies on the campaign.
Answering back with a marker of their own early in the second stanza, French River broke out of their own zone in transition and saw Connor Picard drive hard to the net and smartly put his chance under Greater Sudbury goalkeeper Noah Beaulne.
The Rapids then drew level at 6:27 when Picard picked up a turnover at his own blueline then raced down the ice on a breakaway where he went top shelf over the glove of Beaulne to see him reach a baker’s dozen in the NOJHL goal department.
Regaining the lead, via the man advantage, near the midway mark of the contest, Cole Crowder went hard across the ice into the high slot then ripped a shot into the right corner from the top of the left circle.
Going back up by two in the final frame, the home side’s Oliver Smith flipped one up ice that sent Billy Biedermann in alone where after waiting for the puck to settle down, he made a couple of crafty dekes then slid a low attempt past the pad of Dyer with just over 16 minutes remaining in regulation.
Ben Gustafson did enter to takeover in net for French River after that fourth Cubs’ goal.
The hosts then added some insurance later in the third when Devin Shoreman wheeled around the Rapids goal and as he came out the other side, banked an attempt off a French River defenceman and into the open corner.
Cameron Shanks then secured the home ice victory as he chipped one by Gustafson from close range.
Picard did add one more for the visitors before time expired while picking up his initial NOJHL hat trick by putting a chance off the skate of a Cubs’ player that then skipped over the shoulder of Beaulne with 1:38 remaining.
The triumph sees league-leading Greater Sudbury raise their record to 37-7-2-0 overall while French River fell to 6-37-1-1.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel