Caleigh Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – The red-hot Powassan Voodoos saw Rhys Smetham open and conclude the scoring Thursday night to send them on their way to an eighth consecutive Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory, in a hard-fought 4-2 result versus the Greater Sudbury Cubs at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
The Voodoos needed just 10 seconds to take flight in the contest, scoring right off the opening faceoff that saw them win a race to the puck on a dump in, that was eventually backhanded in by Smetham, past goalkeeper Nathanial Boyes.
The NOJHL leaders in goals scored, Greater Sudbury notched their 98th in that department a few minutes later, while on the power play, when captain Oliver Smith sent a low shot from right circle that got under Powassan starter Kannon Flageolle.
It was more from the home side five minutes into the proceedings as Smith scored once more as he corralled a pass out front from behind the net by teammate Cole Crowder with his skate, then proceeded to roof a shot into the top left-hand corner.
That resulted in the Voodoos opting to make a goaltending change as Flageolle gave way to back-up Daniel Dirracolo, who went the rest of the way.
Drawing level 3:34 into the middle stanza, the guests Nicholas Liotino dashed in from the point and fired a shot from the point that was stopped, but Jaden Sturge was right there to the left of Boyes to bury his initial league marker.
Powassan then went back in front in the final minute of the second after forcing a turnover in their own zone while shorthanded.
That play then saw Thomas Gazich speed out of his own zone, and after beating a Cubs’ defenceman, drove hard to the net where he went right to left across the crease and lifted in a backhand, blocker side, at 19:17 for the man-down effort and his first NOJHL goal.
In the third, Greater Sudbury pressed hard for the equalizer in the late going, but Dirracolo remained solid with a number of quality saves to keep his side in front.
Then with the Cubs’ goaltender out for an additional skater, the Voodoos chipped a play ahead and saw Smetham secure the road victory with an empty netter in the final moments to preserve the road triumph.
Dirracolo was flawless in lengthy relief for Powassan to record the win as his side continued their winning ways.
The result also saw them raise their record to 16-6-0-0 overall and move back into top spot in the NOJHL’s East Division.
In defeat, league-leading Greater Sudbury dropped their second straight outing as they fell to 16-4-2-0 on the year.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel