Photos: Helene Rancourt
BLIND RIVER, Ont. – The surging Blind River Beavers got three goals from defenceman Andrey Manov to help send on their way to a 10th consecutive Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory, a 6-3 decision over the Soo Eagles, in a Family Day matinee at the Blind River Community Centre.
With the clubs skating four aside just over 11 minutes into the match-up, the Beavers opened the scoring when Michael Gallagher sent a wrist shot from inside the blueline that sailed through a line of bodies along the way and got past a screened Eagles’ starter, Logan Raffaele.
Staying 1-0 for the home side into the second stanza, they extended their lead moments after a man advantage they were on expired, thanks to Manov who worked his way free in front and lifted in a Caleb Minns feed from the right side.
Sault Ste. Marie got one back from Michael Szlag at 15:27 as he corralled a loose puck off a goal-mouth scramble and slid it past Blind River goalkeeper Gavin Disano.
Manov got that back though with another before the intermission as he blasted a one-timer from the high slot that was teed up by Minns.
Moving to the final frame, an early giveaway helped the Soo pull closer as Teig Driessen capitalized on the turnover to make it 3-2.
Countering once more, Manov completed his hat trick as he drove to the net before cutting right and tucking in a backhand past the pad of Raffaele.
Eagles’ captain Jack Mortson then replied for the guests back with his team-leading 26th at 9:14 as he stuffed one in while just outside among a mass of players piled up in the crease.
The Beavers were quick to respond however thanks to Gallagher just 40 seconds later when he too was there to tap one in from close range.
Gallagher then did the work to set-up Joshua Thompson for an empty-netter in the final minute to cap off the home ice victory.
With the result, the Beavers continue their winning ways while improving to 35-10-2-2 on the year while the Eagles fell to 21-22-4-1.