SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians picked up a goal and an assist from Noah Serre and Giordano Biondi while netminder David Bowen turned aside all 14 shots he faced to post a shutout in a 4-0 decision over the Soo Eagles Tuesday in Game 6 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division semifinal Tuesday night with nearly 650 spectators on hand at Pullar Stadium.
Rayside-Balfour consequently takes the best-of-seven set 4-2 and will now advance to take on the Soo Thunderbirds in the West Final, after they got past the Blind River Beavers this evening 4-3 to win that series in six outings as well.
The Canadians came out quickly and opened the scoring 68 seconds in as Benjamin Hatanaka collected his third of the series as the guests carried that early cushion into the first intermission.
Rayside-Balfour added to their lead at 11:13 of the second stanza when Serre intercepted a clearing attempt then fed Biondi, who skated in fired a shot on Eagles netminder Shane Brancato, then collected his own rebound and buried his next opportunity to make it 2-0.
It was more Canadians late in the frame as they extended their cushion with Serre striking from the high slot at 18:17 to put them up by three after 40 minutes of play.
The score stayed that way until the late going when Brady Maltais put one into an empty net to secure the series victory.
The shutout for Bowen was his second of the playoffs.
Brancato faced 28 shots in defeat for the Eagles as their campaign comes to a close.
West Division semifinal
No. 2 Rayside-Balfour Canadians vs. No. 3 Soo Eagles
Canadians win best-of-seven series 4-2
Game 1: Canadians 2 Eagles 1
Game 2: Canadians 1 Eagles 0
Game 3: Canadians 3 Eagles 2 (OT)
Game 4: Eagles 7 Canadians 4
Game 5: Eagles 3 Canadians 2 (OT)
Game 6: Canadians 4 Eagles 0