Canadians double up Eagles

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians got two goals each from Oliver Smith and Gavin Brown to aid in an eventual 6-3 triumph over the Soo Eagles Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Pullar Stadium with over 500 fans on hand.

Each side would score once in the opening 20 minutes on play as Joel Brandinger connected for Sault Ste. Marie while Smith answered for Rayside-Balfour.

An early offensive outburst in the middle stanza saw the Canadians skate out to a 3-1 cushion, which carried into the second intermission.

After Graeme Siren made it 2-1 RBC 43 seconds into the session, Brown potted his first of the night at 2:30.

In the third, Brown added another at 6:02, followed by teammate Benjamin Hatanaka a couple of shifts later.

The Eagles attempted a comeback thanks to tallies from Dominic Skrelja and another courtesy of Brandinger, but Smith sealed the road win for the Canadians with an empty netter with two and a half minutes to go as his 20th of the season rounded out the scoring.

Rayside-Balfour starter David Bowen made 31 saves to get the win for the guests.

Shane Brancato started for the Michigan Soo and suffered the loss, allowing five against on 24 attempts while Ryan Gilmore stopped all five chances, he faced in 14 minutes of relief.