ESPANOLA, Ont. – A George Orfanos goal with just over six minutes remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Soo Eagles went on to edge the Espanola Express 2-1 in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division quarter-final Friday at the Regional Recreation Complex.
With the result, the Eagles take the best-of-seven series 2-0 and will now move on to meet the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in a West semifinal match-up.
Following a scoreless first frame Friday, Sault Ste. Marie opened the scoring two minutes into the middle stanza on a marker from their captain Dominic Skrelja as he finished off a Hayden Clark feed.
The Soo then got the eventual decider off the stick of Orfanos at 13:50 as the visitors went up by a pair.
Espanola did get one back before the session was complete that saw Josh Boucher bring the home side back to with one heading into the third.
That final period though saw the Soo hold firm defensively to secure the win and the series and earn their meeting with Rayside-Balfour.
Eagles netminder Shane Brancato made 31 saves to record the victory while Joel Rainville made 25 stops in a season-ending defeat for the Express.
West Division quarter-final series
No. 4 Soo Eagles vs. No. 5 Espanola Express
Eagles win best-of-three series 2-0
Game 1: Eagles 7 Express 1
Game 2: Eagles 2 Express 1