CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Rayside-Balfour Canadians captain Matthew Neault broke a tie game with 4:59 remaining in regulation to help send his side to a 5-3 home ice victory over the Soo Eagles Thursday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Chelmsford Arena.
The visiting Eagles did get on the board first notching the night’s opening tally midway through the first period on defenceman Alex Schwab’s initial NOJHL goal.
It stayed 1-0 Sault Ste. Marie until 4:21 of the second stanza when Evan Krassey’s 12th tied it for the Canadians.
Shane Donovan then put Rayside-Balfour in front a few minutes later only to see Hayden Clark knot the score once more for the Eagles just 32 seconds later.
The back and forth affair then saw Kyle Liinamaa give the home side the lead once more as his seventh of the campaign made it 3-2 Canadians after two periods of play.
A Soo power play helped them draw level 5:14 into the final frame as Christian Bardarson notched his team-leading 27th marker of the year as he converted with his club up a man.
Heading into the latter stages of the third period, Neault picked up the eventual game-winner as he finished off the work of Krassey and Donovan.
Justin Janowski then added some insurance for Rayside-Balfour with just over three minutes remaining to round out the night’s scoring.
Krassey added two assists for a three-point evening while teammate Taylor Woolcott had a pair of helpers of his own in the contest.
Shots on goal favoured the Canadians by a 49-44 count with Brayden Lachance picking up the win and Carter McPhail the loss.
The same two teams will meet again Saturday in a 7 p.m. start at Pullar Stadium.