CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Blind River Beavers picked up the game-winning goal along with an assist from defenceman Ryan Mulligan to help them defeat the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 4-1 Friday in the opening contest of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal at Chelmsford Arena.
Game 2 in this best-of-seven set goes Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. back in Chelmsford.
Friday’s contest Kyle Liinamaa stake the Canadians to the lead six minutes in.
The Beavers countered though as Steven Khull notched the equalizer at 14:37.
Mulligan then provided the eventual difference maker in the first minute of the second period.
Blind River added another midway through the frame from Josh Norman as they take a 3-1 cushion into the third.
There Zach Senecal added some insurance with 7:21 to go as he finished off a man advantage opportunity to close out the night’s scoring.
Dylan McMahon chipped in with two assists for the Beavers.
Garret Boyonoski made 32 saves for Blind River to improve to 3-0 in the postseason.
Brayden Lachance faced 46 shots in defeat for Rayside-Balfour.
West Division semifinal
No. 1 Rayside-Balfour Canadians vs. No. 4 Blind River Beavers
Blind River leads best-of-seven series 1-0
Game 1: Blind River 4 Rayside-Balfour 1
Game 2: Sunday, March 18 @ Rayside-Balfour 3:30 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 3: Tuesday, March 20 @ Blind River 7:30 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 4: Thursday, March 22 @ Blind River 7:30 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game 5*: Friday, March 23 @ Rayside-Balfour 7 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
Game 6*: Sunday, March 25 @ Blind River 7:30 p.m. (Community Centre)
Game7*: Tuesday, March 27 @ Rayside-Balfour 5:30 p.m. (Chelmsford Arena)
*- if necessary
Photo courtesy of Rob and Caleigh Fera: www.sudburylight.ca