ESPANOLA, Ont. – Bret McInall’s franchise-record 24th tally of the season, late in overtime, lifted the Espanola Express to a dramatic 2-1 triumph over the Blind River Beavers in a tightly-contested Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter Friday at the Regional Recreation Complex.
After a scoreless first frame, it was Blind River that cracked the deadlock near the midway point of the second stanza when Nash Hatcher and Dante Cavaliere combined to set-up Nathan Engel for his fourth of the campaign.
Battling back in the third the Express picked up the equalizer, Diego Pasula netted the equalizer with 2:17 left in regulation to help force extra time.
Going three skater aside in OT, McInall won it late after picking up a turnover deep in Beavers’ territory, as he moved in and slid the game-winner under the pad of Blind River netminder Garret Boyonoski to end it.
That marker set a new Espanola mark for most goals in a single season with that 24th effort.
Express goaltender Joel Rainville finished with 36 saves to record the win while also setting a team mark with his eighth victory of the season.
As for Boyonoski, he saw 45 attempts fired his way in defeat for Blind River.