NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE
Release Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Powassan prevails 3-2 over Blind River in hard-fought Game 2 of NOJHL final
POWASSAN, Ont. – A Ryan Theriault goal from point-blank range with 6:07 remaining in regulation proved to be difference maker as the Powassan Voodoos edged the Blind River Beavers 3-2 Saturday in a well-played Game 2 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy championship series at the Powassan Sportsplex.
With the outcome, Powassan now leads the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Blind River Community Centre.
After being 7-0 when scoring first in the playoffs, the Voodoos added to that impressive stat by once again notching the opening tally as Brett Hahkala spun and fired a blast from the right face-off circle that slipped between the arm and body of Blind River starter Myles Hektor and rolled across the goal line 2:51 into the contest.
A Powassan power play helped them go up by two near the midway point of the session when Andy Baker, the league’s leading goal scorer in the regular season, wheeled out of the corner after accepting a pass from Gary Mantz and quickly darted in front and fired one low right side past a sprawling Hektor.
The assist for Mantz helped him extend a consecutive game point streak to 10 in the process as he’s etched his name on the score sheet in each of the Voodoos’ postseason contests in 2017 to date.
Penalties came back to haunt the home side in the latter stages of the first as Blind River’s Yianni Liarakos teed one up for Max Khull in the slot and he made no mistake wiring his attempt past Nate McDonald during a two-man advantage.
While still shorthanded, but forcing a turnover late in the period, Powassan’s Shane Beaulieu would be hauled down on a break and was awarded the initial penalty shot of the playoffs, but he was thwarted by Hektor after Beaulieu made a couple of quick stick dekes, but saw his snap shot denied by the Beavers’ netminder.
A tight-checking second stanza saw neither side connect offensively with the Voodoos carrying their 2-1 cushion into the third.
The visitors tied it in the first minute of the final frame thanks to Zak Lambrecht, who forced his way to the front of the net and chipped the equalizer past McDonald with the clubs skating four players aside for his sixth goal of the playoffs.
Powassan regained the lead however at 13:53 capitalizing when a Blind River defender fanned on a clearing attempt, which allowed Hahkala and Tyson Gilmour to make a couple of quick passes that in turn found an open Theriault at the top of the crease, who quickly knocked in the game-winner to the right side of the net from close range.
Pulling their goaltender with a minute and a half remaining in an effort to tie it and force overtime, the Beavers pressed to draw level, but the Voodoos held firm to secure their 10th consecutive playoff triumph.
Gilmour dished out two assists joining Hahkala with two-point nights.
McDonald improved to 10-0 in the postseason making 28 saves in picking up the victory while Hektor was solid in defeat for Blind River stopping 29 of 32 along the way.
The NOJHL winner will advance to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A Championship, May 2-6 in Trenton, Ont.
All games in the Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy final will be streamed live online at HockeyTV.com.
NOJHL Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy League Championship Series schedule
Powassan Voodoos vs. Blind River Beavers
Powassan leads best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Powassan 4 Blind River 1
Game 2: Powassan 3 Blind River 2
Game 3: Thursday, April 20 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 4: Friday, April 21 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 5*: Sunday, April 23 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Sportsplex)
Game 6*: Tuesday, April 25 @ Blind River 7 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 7*: Thursday, April 27 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Sportsplex)