Horgan helps Espanola down Blind River

BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Riding the strength of a four-goal night from defenceman Spencer Horgan, the Espanola Paper Kings went on to down the Blind River Beavers 7-3 Saturday in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at the Blind River Community Centre.

The result evens the best-of-seven series at 1-1 with it now shifting to the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex for Game 3, which goes Sunday at 7 p.m. and online at FLOHockey.tv.

Needing only 10 seconds to strike first, the Beavers came in on a two-on-one off the opening face off and saw Jakob Kovacs send a pass across to Jesse Dupuis who quickly fired it past Paper Kings’ starter Jake Marois.

Answering with an equalizer at 6:04, Espanola clicked on the power play as Horgan took a play to the slot and sent a sizzler past Blind River goalkeeper Noah Tegelaar.

Up a skater themselves, the home side regained the lead a couple of shifts later when Daniel Vasic wheeled into the left circle and ripped in his third goal of the series.

Collecting another tying tally prior to the first intermission, Lucas Signoretti evened the score at 18:40 by taking an Owen Fergusson set-up and wiring it into the bottom left corner from up high.

In the second stanza, a lengthy man advantage helped Blind River go back in front when Michael Gallagher took a shot from the point that was stopped, but Kovacs was right there in front to stuff in the rebound.

Coming back to tie it yet again, Horgan connected shorthanded after corralling a shot off the end boards and sliding it into the open corner on Tegelaar.

Getting their first lead of the evening, late in the frame, Espanola won a race to a dump in and saw Blake Peters-Davey find an open Jack Lynes going to net, who slid a low attempt through the five-hole.

Not done there, a third straight Paper Kings goal saw Horgan hit his hat trick, while his side was up a skater, as he lifted in a loose puck off a Fergusson chance at 19:57.

After handling a near four-minute disadvantage to begin the third, the visitors scored for a fourth consecutive time when Lynes had a couple of in-close cracks before putting one high to extend their cushion.

Getting their goalie out with plenty of time remaining, and on a five-minute power play, Blind River looked to get back in it.

Horgan however iced it with a long-range backhand man-down effort from deep in his own territory that found its way in for his fourth of the night that concluded the scoring.

NOJHL West semifinal
Blind River Beavers vs. Espanola Paper Kings
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1

Game 1: Beavers 6 Paper Kings 3
Game 2: Paper Kings 7 Beavers 3
Game 3: 
Sunday, March 24 @ Espanola 7 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 4: Tuesday, March 26 @ Espanola 7 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 5: Thursday, March 28 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
Game 6*: Friday, March 29 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 7*: Sunday, March 31 @ Blind River 2 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)
*-if necessary