Photos: Helene Rancourt
BLIND RIVER, Ont. – A six-goal first period was more than enough as the Blind River Beavers went on to ease past the French River Rapids 9-2 Sunday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League matinee at the Blind River Community Centre.
Needing just a couple of minutes to open the scoring, the Beavers’ Jack Robinson connected from the right of the net as he lifted a backhand by Rapids’ starter Elijah Grant.
Answering that, French River drew level at 3:34 when Jesse Lefebvre took a long up-ice pass and powered his way down the right wing where he roofed a shot over the glove of Blind River goalkeeper Iain Wintle for his first NOJHL goal.
Retaking the lead shortly after that, Evan Fraccaro clicked for the home side while driving to the net and cutting to his left before snapping a shot past Grant.
Going up by two at 7:53, Michael Gallagher notched his third tally in two games by darting down side boards and making no mistake with his attempt from the left face-off circle.
That also resulted in the Rapids making a goaltending change, with back-up Brady Dyer entering the game.
Blind River kept coming and tacked on two more to build up a 5-1 lead.
Nathanel Pretez picked up the fourth one for his squad while skating around the back of net before coming out and stuffing one in before the Rapids’ netminder could get across.
Fraccaro then picked up his second of the session moments after that as he finished off a feed into the slot.
Not done there, Blind River picked up another one in the final minute when Brendan Cooke banked in a backhand from a sharp angle on Dyer for his initial league marker.
Moving to the middle stanza, the visitors got one back after Daniil Grishachev took a feed behind the goal line and whipped it upstairs from between the circles.
However, the Beavers came right back moments later on a Jakob Kovacs effort that eluded Grant, who had re-entered the contest to begin the second, after being set-up by Gallagher and firing one blocker side.
Bryce Burnett’s first in the NOJHL then made it 8-2 midway through the proceedings as he finished a crisp passing play.
The onslaught continued late in the frame when the Beavers’ Joseph Rotilio moved left to right on a defender and neatly picked the corner on Grant to collect his opening tally.
With Dyer returning to the Rapids’ net in the final frame, there would be no further scoring the rest of the way as Blind River cruised to the one-sided victory.
Wintle got the win as his club improved to 2-0 early in the season while French River fell to 0-2.