Early outburst sends Canadians past Express

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians struck for three goals before the contest was four minutes old to help send them to an eventual 8-5 victory over the Espanola Express Sunday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter at Chelmsford Arena.

The early outburst began 64 seconds in as Ryan O’Bonsawin collected his first NOJHL goal to send the home side on their way.

Rayside-Balfour then tacked on two more off the sticks of Kyle Liinamaa and Taylor Woolcott to chase Espanola starter Jacob Hutchings in favour of Adam Scott the rest of the way.

The goaltending switch revitalized the Express as they got on the board thanks to a Joel Grandbois marker at 9:06.

Continuing to press, the visitors added another as Tristan Poissant converted during a man advantage opportunity to bring the Express back to within one.

However, the Canadians tacked on three more in the latter stages of the session to go up 6-2 after 20 minutes with Liinamaa, Jacob Partridge and Matthew Neault all finding the back of the net.

Liinimaa finished off a hat trick late in the second period with his fifth overall to extend the cushion heading into the third.

Poissant picked up another for Espanola early in the frame with a shorthanded marker before Evan Krassey supplied his eighth for the Canadians at 7:26.

Henry Laukkanen added one for the Express during a power play later in the stanza and while continuing to compete, Mackenzie Schopfer tacked on man advantage effort for Espanola at 16:37 to round out the evening’s scoring.

James White and Ethan Lavallee had three assists each for RBC in the triumph while Woolcott had a couple of helpers to go along with his goal.

Grandbois meanwhile set-up three for the Express to go along with his goal.

Rayside-Balfour netminder Matty Mayhew made 23 stops to pick up the win.

Scott suffered the loss in lengthy relief for Espanola handling 40 of the 45 attempts he saw while Hutching saw five attempts in his brief stint in net.

Photo courtesy of Rob and Caleigh Fera:  www.sudburylight.ca