BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Kyle Liinimaa’s second goal of the game coming with just 1.2 seconds remaining in overtime was the difference as the Rayside-Balfour Canadians pulled out a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Blind River Beavers in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division match-up Monday at the Blind River Community Centre.
The visiting Canadians were also quick to convert in this one as Liinimaa also opened the scoring 2:22 into the contest.
Going to the power play later in the frame, Blind River drew level thanks to Brendan Young’s seventh at 15:31.
Moving on to the middle stanza, Rayside-Balfour regained the lead once more with Eric Eschweiller connecting on an early man advantage opportunity as he finished off the work of Evan Krassey and Ryan O’Bonsawin.
The score stayed that way until 64 seconds into the third period when the Beavers tied it again thanks to Caleb Serre, who notched his team-leading ninth tally of the campaign.
From there it remained a deadlock right through deep in OT when the Canadians pulled out the late triumph when quickly breaking out of their own zone they came in on a two-on-one where Eschweiler saucered a pass from the left side over to an open Liinimaa who quickly made a quick deke to his left and backhanded the game-winner over Blind River netminder Thomson Phinney to end it.
David Bowen made 32 saves to record the win for Rayside-Balfour while Phinney finished with 44 stops in defeat helping the Beavers earn a point on the night.
With the result, the two sides are now tied in the West standings with 22 points each, but the Beavers do hold two games in hand.