Photos: Dal Photography
FRENCH RIVER – A Levi Siau goal off a coast-to-coast rush up the ice, coming 3:14 into overtime, was the difference as the French River Rapids edged the Blind River Beavers 4-3 Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Noelville Arena.
Skating against each other for the first time since back on December 15, 2019, the two clubs used a fast-paced opening 20 minutes to get reacquainted.
The visiting Beavers began the night’s scoring late in the session off a Dakota Seaman wrist shot from the point as he used a French River defender as a screen while snapping one off the post and in to beat Rapids’ starter Justin Dilauro at 19:07.
Opening up offensively in the middle stanza, the clubs saw four goals scored by the midway point of the period, which resulted in French River taking a 3-2 lead.
Chase Lefebvre tied it for the home side at 4:21 as he hit the 20-goal plateau on the campaign by cranking a one-timer from the left circle after taking a drop pass from teammate Spencer Borg.
Regaining the lead a couple of shifts later, James Ingram put Blind River back on top when he spun in the corner and fired a quick shot that fooled Dilauro.
The Rapids power play then clicked twice, in quick order, to put them up by one thanks to a pair of man advantage markers courtesy of Dominik Godin.
His first saw him use a fast release from the right side off a Lefebvre pass then proceeded to notch his 25th of the season, with his club up a pair of skaters, as waited in a similar spot on the ice and whipped one into the open side.
Regrouping, Blind River went to the power play themselves and saw Ethan Pegg make it 3-3 at 12:50 as he darted through the defence on a five-on-three and neatly picked the left hand corner for his ninth of the year.
Still knotted at three in the third, the two teams battled for the deciding tally, which would not come, thus sending it to extra time.
In OT, Siau won it as he took the puck deep in his own zone then proceeded to dart up the ice and drive to the net where he fired a shot that Beavers’ goalkeeper Patrick Boivin stopped, but he was right there to bang in the rebound to end it.
With the result, Dilauro picked up the win as French River snapped a seven-game winless run while improving to 18-18-1-0 on the year.
Boivin’s efforts helped Blind River pick up a point in defeat as they saw their record more to 17-12-3-0 overall.