BLIND RIVER, Ont. – Nearly letting a four-goal lead get away, the Blind River Beavers held on late before eventually defeating the Espanola Paper Kings 6-3 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Saturday at the Blind River Recreation Centre.
On the power play midway through the first period, the Beavers capitalized when Michael Gallagher ripped a shot on net from the left circle that hit off the glove of Paper Kings’ goaltender Andrew Gaulton and went right to Jakob Kovacs, who blasted it in from a knee on a sharp angle.
Adding another late in the frame, the hosts took a 2-0 cushion into the opening intermission when Jack Robinson supplied his seventh of the season after taking an Andrey Manov feed and one-timing it in.
An early odd-man rush into the second stanza, saw the home side go up by three as Robinson came down the right wing on a two-on-one and sent a perfect feed across the ice that was steered in by Gallagher.
Striking again right after that, recently acquired Matthew Campanella connected in his Blind River debut as he stuffed in a loose puck that Gaulton could not control.
Espanola also elected to make a goaltending change after that with back-up Jake Marois coming in.
Answering early in the third, the Paper Kings tallied twice to get right back in it.
Their initial effort came off the stick of Liam Rampersad as his attempt from the left point, clipped off the skate of a Beavers’ forward and changed direction, in eluding goalkeeper Gavin Disano, just 28 seconds in.
Picking up a man advantage right after that, Blake Peters-Davey found the mark with another favourable bounce as his dump in went off two defenders and trickled in.
Another one from Peters-Davey at 6:41 brought the guests to within one as he went top shelf from the right circle.
Blind River did regroup from there, getting late tallies from Jesse Dupuis, and Manov, both into an empty net, to secure the home ice triumph.
The win moves the Beavers to 12-6-0-0 while Paper Kings dropped to 12-6-0-0.