Eagles outlast Rapids in goal-filled affair

Photos: Cassy Seguin

FRENCH RIVER – Jack Ohlund’s second goal of the game, coming late in regulation, helped the Soo Eagles pullout a 6-5 see-saw affair versus the French River Rapids in an action-packed Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Sunday matinee at Noelville Arena.

Visiting Sault Ste. Marie opened the scoring early, when they benefitted from a turnover in French River territory which allowed Tyler Fortson to set-up Drew Dellies, who fired one upstairs on Rapids’ starter Elijah Grant at 2:56.

The Eagles then made it 2-0 moments into a man advantage that saw Kenny Belanger Jr., neatly tip in a Gabriel Fisher point shot.

Answering back before the first period came to a close, Nolan Masson controlled the puck off a draw and worked his way free, before snapping it over the glove of Soo goaltender Anthony Zolezzi at 19:41.

Heading to the second stanza, Dellies added another off a face off win by Alex Freund and promptly whipped it in from the right circle.

Countering once more, the Rapids made it 3-2 a couple of shifts later thanks to Matthew Shulist, who dashed down the right wing and sent a sizzler into the left corner for his ninth tally of the campaign.

French River then drew level when Brandon Melsness worked his way out of the corner and got in front where he fired in the tying tally from near the top of the crease.

Going back in front just over a minute later, while on a power play, Fisher set-up Benjamin Pouliot on the right side where he lasered one by Grant at 16:07.

A strong backcheck by the Soo’s Fisher in the waning moments of the second thwarted a Masson break to keep the score at 4-3 heading to the intermission.

Evening the score once more early in the third, Shulist blocked a shot and went in alone on a breakaway where he neatly tucked a backhand through the legs of Zolezzi for his second of the day.

Back and forth they went with the Eagles regaining the lead at 5:11 when Jack Paweski banked a shot off the end boards that came out the other side of the net where a waiting Ohlund chipped it over the outstretched pad of Grant.

Continuing to battle, Shulist completed a hat trick by dashing down the right wing and burying a laser at 10:22.

In the end though, to Soo had more goal in them as Ohlund pumped in the game-winner off a dump-in that was fed to him in the slot that he deposited with just over four minutes to play.

That proved to be the 11th and final tally of the match-up, with the Eagles capping off a three-win road trip, helping them move to 15-5-0-1 on the season.

The hard-fought setback resulted in the Rapids slipping to 3-17-1-0.