Wildcats blank Canadians in West semifinal opener



Release Date: Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wildcats blank Canadians in West semifinal opener

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats got a goal in each period and rode the shutout goaltending of Aaron Mackay to blank the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 3-0 Thursday in Game 1 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Centennial Arena.

The clubs will now focus on Game 2 Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Chelmsford Arena.

In Thursday’s contest Cole Hepler notched the eventual game-winning marker 14:09 into the opening frame with assists going to Chad Lopez and Josef Kittelberger.

Matthew Colunga’s first of the playoffs made it 2-0 Elliot Lake as he beat Rayside-Balfour starter MacKenzie Savard at 6:06 of the middle session.

The score stayed that way until the latter stages of the contest when Ty Hannaford iced it with an empty net effort with 79 seconds remaining to round out the scoring.

Mackay was solid throughout for the Wildcats turning aside all 33 shots he faced to post his initial NOJHL postseason shutout in his playoff debut.

Savard too turned in a good effort despite the defeat stopping 37 of the 39 attempts he faced.

NOJHL Playoff Series
West Division semifinal
No. 2 Elliot Lake Wildcats vs. No. 3 Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Elliot Lake leads best-of-seven series 1-0

Game 1: Elliot Lake 3 Rayside-Balfour 0
Game 2: Saturday, March 19 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford)
Game 3: Monday, March 21 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
Game 4: Wednesday, March 23 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford)
Game 5*: Thursday, March 24 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
Game 6*: Saturday, March 26 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford)
Game 7*: Tuesday, March 29 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
*-if necessary