Wildcats rally for OT triumph over Canadians to go up 2-0 in West semifinal


Release Date: Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wildcats rally for OT triumph over Canadians to go up 2-0 in West semifinal

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Matthew Colunga’s second goal of the game, 40 seconds into overtime, was the difference as the Elliot Lake Wildcats rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Chelmsford Arena.

The Wildcats now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake.

In Saturday’s contest, Rayside-Balfour picked up the lone tally of the opening frame as Brett Whitehead scored on the power play at 11:48.

Cole Hepler drew the Wildcats level at 5:42 of the second before and teammate Spencer MacLean put the visitors in front with a man advantage effort just past the 11-minute mark of the session.

The Canadians tied it, via the power play, at 14:12 as Otis Goldman collected his first of the playoffs.

The home side then regained the lead two minutes later as Cayse Ton notched his initial NOJHL postseason tally.

After Elliot Lake’s Colunga and Rayside-Balfour’s Ryan Erickson traded man advantage markers in the third, the Wildcats forced extra time with 3:05 remaining in regulation as they picked up their third power play tally of the night, which was scored by Liam Blais.

Colunga then won it early in OT as his effort eluded Canadians’ goaltender MacKenzie Savard as Elliot Lake went up 2-0 in the series.

Troy Button dished out two assists for the winners, including one on the decider in OT.

Aaron Mackay made 29 saves to register the win for the Wildcats while Savard saw 44 attempts fired his way in defeat for Rayside-Balfour.

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

Game 1: Elliot Lake 3 Rayside-Balfour 0
Game 2: Elliot Lake 5 Rayside-Balfour 4 (OT)
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

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