ESPANOLA, Ont. – A Davin Van de Zilver goal 53 seconds into overtime was the difference as the French River Rapids slipped past the Espanola Express 4-3 Thursday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League exhibition game at the Regional Recreation Complex.
Hunter Brazier gave French River the lead with the lone tally of the first period, which came at 4:13.
Espanola tied it three and a half minutes into the second stanza off the stick of Carson Bayoff.
Moving on to the third, the Rapids went back in front at 1:23 as Braden Simon connected during a man advantage opportunity.
Joshua McVeigh then put the visitors up by two midway through the session.
Battling back late to tie it, the Express struck twice on the power play to even things up compliments of Collin McGuire and Adam Morgan, with the latter forcing extra time with 2:13 left in regulation.
However French River pulled it out quickly in OT thanks to Van de Zilver’s game-winner.
Ryan Smith had two assists for the Rapids, including one on the decider.
Kevin Donaghey picked up the win in relief for French River as he saved 20 of the 22 shots he faced while starter Alex Allison stopped 23 of 24 in just over 30 minutes of work.
Joel Rainville went the distance between the pipes for Espanola seeing 53 attempts in the OT setback.