CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Rayside-Balfour Canadians rookie forward Nicholas DeGrazia had a shorthanded breakaway goal and dished out a trio of assists to help propel his side to a 6-2 triumph over the Espanola Express in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Thursday evening at Chelmsford Arena.
The victory was the sixth in succession for the Canadians, which marks the longest winning streak for the club dating back to the 2017-18 campaign when they registered a half-dozen victories between January 14 and February 1 of 2018.
Rayside-Balfour came out hard on this night and pumped 16 shots on Espanola starter Joel Rainville, who kept them at bay for most of the third period.
However, the Canadians finally solved the Express netminder deep in the frame as Matthew Dokis-Dupuis scored his first goal of the season at 18:21.
The home side came out quickly in the middle stanza as extended their cushion to a pair just 34 seconds in as Jett Leishman finished off a play set-up by Brady Maltais and Oliver Smith.
It stayed 2-0 RBC past the midway mark of the contest, when Espanola saw Matais Salem supply his third of the young season to put the visitors on the board as he extended a consecutive game point streak to six in the process.
Regrouping, the Canadians’ Mitchell Martin clicked twice in quick order to put his side up by three.
They then saw Nicholas DeGrazia break free in the waning moments of the period with his squad down a man as went in all alone and snapped a shot that trickled through Rainville and just slid across the goal line.
Dylan Labelle got one back for the Express eight and a half minutes into the third, but Zachary Hauseman finished off DeGrazia’s third feed of the evening a couple shifts later to round out the scoring.
Shots on goal on the evening favoured Rayside-Balfour by a 46-24 with Nicholas Heinzle picking up the win while Rainville suffered the defeat.