GALLERY: Liarakos the OT hero as Blind River forces Game 7 with Rayside-Balfour



Release Date: Sunday, March 26, 2017

Liarakos the OT hero as Blind River forces Game 7 with Rayside-Balfour

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Yianni Liarakos’ second goal of the game, five and a half minutes into overtime, allowed the Blind River Beavers to bounce back from a two-goal deficit and defeat the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 4-3 Sunday in Game 6 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Chelmsford Arena.

That means the best-of-seven affair is now tied at 3-3 with a seventh and deciding game in the series slated for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Blind River Community Centre.

The winner there will meet the Soo Eagles in the West Division final, which will be another best-of-seven set.

Blind River were quick out of the gate in Sunday’s contest grabbing a 1-0 lead before the game was two minutes old as Beavers’ captain Anthony Pullicino one-timed a high-blast from the slot that flew by Rayside-Balfour starter Owen Johansson.

Brett Whitehead drew the Canadians level nine minutes into the session as he found a loose puck in the slot and snapped the equalizer past Myles Hektor in the Blind River net.

Rayside-Balfour then went in front at 16:07 during a power play as Whitehead supplied his second of the stanza to put the home side up 2-1.

An early man advantage in the second allowed the Canadians to go up 3-1 with Tristan Simm supplying his fourth of the series at 1:35.

Blind River got that back with a power play effort from their own during a five-on-three as Liarakos ripped one past Johansson from the left side nine minutes into the frame.

The Beavers then drew level five minutes later on Dylan McMahon’s third playoff marker.

After a scoreless third period it was Liarakos who sent the series the distance as the NOJHL and Canadian Junior Hockey League’s regular season leader in game-winning goals with 11, added one in the playoffs by redirecting a Max Khull shot past Johansson to end it and send the series back to Blind River Tuesday for its conclusion.

Hektor made 42 saves to record the victory while Johansson faced 38 shots in defeat for Rayside-Balfour.

All NOJHL playoff games are streamed online at

West Division semifinal
No. 2 Blind River Beavers vs. No. 3 Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
Game 1: Blind River 6 Rayside-Balfour 2
Game 2: Blind River 6 Rayside-Balfour 3
Game 3: Rayside-Balfour 4 Blind River 3 (OT)
Game 4: Rayside-Balfour 3 Blind River 2
Game 5: Rayside-Balfour 3 Blind River 2
Game 6: Blind River 4 Rayside-Balfour 3 (OT)
Game 7: Tuesday, March 28 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Blind River Community Centre)

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