CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians held off a late charge by the Soo Eagles to pull out an eventual 5-3 victory Sunday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Chelmsford Arena.
Rayside-Balfour pressed the pace in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Sault Ste. Marie by a 22-9 margin, but could not solve Eagles starting netminder Joseph Benedetto.
Picking up an early power play in the second stanza, the Canadians did convert and open the scoring thanks to Evan Krassey at 4:11.
However, the Soo came back with a equalizer two and a half minutes later as Mihali See notched his team-leading fifth early on the campaign as he also extended a consecutive-game point streak to five in the process.
Ethan Lavallee put the home side back in front at 14:17 before Matthew Dokis-Dupuis made it 3-1 three minutes later to give Rayside-Balfour a two-tally cushion heading into the final frame.
Giordano Biondi then struck shorthanded 52 seconds into the third to put his club seemingly in control.
Battling back, the Eagles’ Mikey Butcher connected during a two-man advantage with just under five minutes to go then pulled to within one at 17:12 to make it interesting on a Brendan Blair even strength effort.
However, the Canadians’ Biondi added one in an empty net in the final minute to round out the scoring.
Kyle Liinamaa had two assists in the win for RBC as did Alec Schwab for the Soo in defeat.
Shots on goal in the contest favoured Rayside-Balfour by a 47-38 margin with David Bowen picking up the win while Benedetto suffered the loss.