VIDEO / GALLERY: Visiting Voodoos down Cubs in NOJHL finals opener

PHOTOS : Rob Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography

SUDBURY, Ont. – Continuing their stellar play on the road, the Powassan Voodoos downed the Greater Sudbury Cubs 5-2 Thursday night in the opening game of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League championship series, at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

The result sees Powassan win their sixth straight away match-up of the playoffs.

Vying for chances in the opening period, it was the visiting Voodoos who struck first late in the session to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

Fresh off notching a late game-winner to close out their East Division series with Timmins, Zach Turner stuffed in a loose puck off a couple of chances generated by Dylan McElhinny at 18:45, that had Greater Sudbury’s Noah Metivier out of his crease.

Moving to the middle stanza, the Powassan power play went to work and saw them go up by a pair, just over four minutes in, as Chase Thompson’s pass from the side boards found Alex Little dashing down the slot and saw him rip a shot by the blocker of Metivier.

Another man advantage right after that aided in a third Voodoos tally, that featured Reyth Smith converting by roofing a short-side attempt from a sharp angle, into the net, at 5:39.

It also resulted in Greater Sudbury opting to make a goaltending change, with back-up Noah Beaulne entering in relief.

Up a skater themselves nearing the midway point of the proceedings, Hudson Chitaroni corralled a pin-balling puck and tucked in a backhand past a downed Daniel Dirracolo in the Powassan crease.

Little had a great chance to put the guests back up three, as he went in alone while shorthanded, after a Cubs’ defender had fallen, only to be denied by a big pad save by Beaulne.

He did however collect a pivotal marker in the final moments of the frame, as he broke out of his own zone on a two-on-one and while flying down the right side, scooped up his own rebound, and sent a sizzler past Beaulne at 19:53.

In the third, Dirracolo thwarted a quality chance moments in to keep it 4-1.

The home side did answer with a man advantage effort off the stick of Cameron Walker, as he snagged the leftovers off a Marshall McCharles chance and snapped it in from the right side, with just over 15 minutes to play.

Keeping his club in it, Beaulne denied Smith on a breakaway to hold the hosts close.

Getting their goalkeeper out with 4:05 to play, the Cubs pressed the pace in an effort to draw closer, but in the end Powassan held on before eventually sealing the result with a Thompson empty netter with 22 seconds to play.

Game 2 goes Friday back in Sudbury at 7:05 p.m., and on

The NOJHL winner will move on to compete in the Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, Canadian National Junior A Championship, May 9-19, in Oakville, Ont.

Powassan Voodoos vs. Greater Sudbury Cubs
Powassan leads best-of-seven series 1-0

Game 1: Voodoos 5 Cubs 2
Game 2: Friday, April 19 @ Sudbury 7:05 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 3: Sunday, April 21 @ Powassan 2 p.m. (Powassan Sportsplex)
Game 4: Monday, April 22 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Powassan Sportsplex)
Game 5*: Thursday, April 25 @ Sudbury 7:05 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
Game 6*: Sunday, April 28 @ Powassan 2 p.m. (Powassan Sportsplex)
Game 7*: Tuesday, April 30 @ Sudbury 7:05 p.m. (Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex)
*-if necessary

“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel