SUDBURY, Ont. – Three more Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League preseason contests were held Saturday and the following is a run-down on those trio of match-ups.
Soo Thunderbirds 7 Blind River Beavers 4 – A quick start saw Sault Ste. Marie score three times before the game was 15 minutes and they never trailed en route to the road triumph.
Avery Rebek and Cooper Smyl both struck twice for the Soo with Russell Oldham, Connor Toms and Caleb Wood, with an empty netter, contributing solo efforts for the Thunderbirds.
Rebek and Smyl were both credited with two assists each as was Michael Chaffay.
Getting the Blind River goals were Meguire Naughton, Noah Minns, Lucas Adams and Mason Chitaroni.
The Beavers had plenty of chances on a night that saw Soo goalkeeper Alex Bugeja finish with 49 saves to earn the victory.
Blind River’s Gavin Disano meanwhile faced 45 shots in defeat.
French River Rapids 5 Espanola Express 3 – Jack Tos scored twice and helped set-up the game-winner as French River went on to edge Espanola in another closely played game.
After defeating the Express in overtime Friday, the Rapids skated out to an early two-goal lead in this one, on markers from Tos and Cooper Bowman.
Bradley Brunet got one back for the visitors late in the first frame on a man advantage opportunity.
Tos tacked on the lone tally in the second stanza as the host took a 3-1 lead into the final intermission.
In the third, a Liam Serviss shorthanded marker brought Espanola back to within one at 13:03 only to see Liau Siau collect the eventual difference maker for the Rapids moments later.
Battling back, Ben Anderson drew the guests closer once again before Spencer Borg’s empty netter in the final minute sealed the win for French River.
Hayden Williamson made 19 saves in two periods of relief to record the win while Cole Sheffield stopped 13 of 14 while playing the first frame.
Espanola’s Owen Willis was busy in defeat, seeing 46 shots fired his way.
Game Photos courtesy of Dal Photography
Hearst Lumberjacks 7 Cochrane Crunch 2 – A four-goal second period broke open a close game that saw Hearst prevail over Cochrane in the preseason debut for both clubs.
The Lumberjacks got two tallies apiece from Raphael Lajuenesse and Quinton Hill while Tyren Grimsdale, David Goebeil and Mason Wesley supplied singles for the visitors who held intermission leads of 1-0 and 5-0.
Tyson Moore supplied both markers for the Crunch in the setback.
Hearst goaltender Andrew Stephan made 38 saves to collect the win.
Michael Nickolau and Julien Lefebrve split duties in net seeing a combined 49 attempts between the pipes.
Game Photos: Emily Martin