Strong start sends Wildcats to win over Express


Release Date: Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016

Strong start sends Wildcats to win over Express

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats struck twice before the game was two minutes old and never trailed as they went on to an 8-1 victory over the Espanola Express in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Sunday evening at Centennial Arena.

It took the hometown Wildcats just 26 seconds after the opening face-off to begin the scoring as Cole Hepler notched his 34th goal of the campaign.

Elliot Lake came right back with another at the 1:50 mark with Matthew Colunga beating Espanola starter Kevin Labelle.

Connor Rider then made it 3-0 seven and half minutes in as he scored for the 15th time this season as his side carried the three-tally cushion into the middle session.

Espanola, who were without the services of head coach Tom McCarthy as he participated in the NHL alumni outdoor game between the Minnesota North Stars/Wild vs. Chicago in Minneapolis this weekend, got one back in the early stages of the second period, via the power play, thanks to Dan Nicholas, who collected his first goal in an Express uniform at 2:40.

Elliot Lake answered that a couple minutes later as Shane Woolsey finished off the work of Spencer MacLean and Nathan Campbell during a man advantage opportunity.

The Wildcats then added to their lead midway through the contest thanks to an Artur Terchiyev effort, which was followed by Woolsey’s second of the night at 13:38.

The onslaught continued 54 seconds into the final frame with Rider adding another to make it 7-1.

Curtis Rawn added one more for Elliot Lake he struck shorthanded with nine and a half minutes remaining to round out the scoring.

Rider, Woolsey and MacLean all had three point nights for the Wildcats.

Aaron Mackay made 22 stops to pick up the win for Elliot Lake.

Labelle suffered the loss for the Express saving 32 of the 37 attempts he faced while Espanola affiliate netminder Nicholas Larocque handled 10 of 11 in just over 19 minutes of relief in his NOJHL debut.