BLIND RIVER, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians picked up a goal and two assists from James White while goalkeeper Brayden Lachance continued his stellar play with a 35-save performance Sunday to lift their side to a 4-1 victory over the Blind River Beavers in Game 6 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal Sunday evening at Blind River Community Centre.
With the outcome, Rayside-Balfour wins the best-of-seven affair 4-2 and will now meet either the Soo Thunderbirds or Soo Eagles in the West Final, which gets underway next week.
Sunday’s match-up saw the Canadians come out quickly by grabbing a 2-0 lead before the contest was six minutes old as White and Gabriel Rheault gave the visitors the early cushion.
Having been stymied by Rayside-Balfour netminder Brayden Lachance for over 111 minutes, Blind River finally solved him 12:54 into the first frame as Max Khull scored for his third of the playoffs.
However the Canadians got that back before the period was complete when Kyle Liinamaa swiped the puck off a Beavers’ defender and fed an open Noah Serre in the slot who fired a quick shot blocker side on Blind River goalkeeper Garret Boyonoski.
Brandon Atkins then added one for Rayside-Balfour in the middle session to put them up by three after 40 minutes.
Lachance and the Canadians’ defensive corps did the rest in the third to keep it scoreless from there to secure the series clinching triumph.
Liinamaa had two assists on the night to help his side out offensively.
Boyonoski saw 39 shots fired his way in defeat as the Beavers’ season comes to an end.
West Division semifinal
No. 1 Rayside-Balfour Canadians vs. No. 4 Blind River Beavers
Rayside-Balfour wins best-of-seven series 4-2
Game 1: Blind River 4 Rayside-Balfour 1
Game 2: Rayside-Balfour 3 Blind River 2
Game 3: Blind River 8 Rayside-Balfour 1
Game 4: Rayside-Balfour 3 Blind River 2 (OT)
Game 5: Rayside-Balfour 1 Blind River 0
Game 6: Rayside-Balfour 4 Blind River 1