Photos: Justin Cairns
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Digging their way out from an early hole, the Espanola Paper Kings came back with the night’s final four tallies to upend the Soo Eagles 6-4 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Saturday at Pullar Stadium.
After a scoreless opening frame, the Eagles struck shorthanded quickly in the second period when Jack Paweski picked off a play in his own end then darted down the ice on a two-man break where he used a quick give-and-go with Jacob Swiatek who whipped it past an outstretched Jake Marois in the Paper Kings’ net.
Sault Ste. Marie came right back and added another less than a minute later with Sutton Majeske sweeping in an attempt off a Coby Fox shot towards the target.
Cutting into the deficit on a four-on-three, Espanola’s Kyle den Ouden took nice feed from behind the net and promptly fired it past Soo goalkeeper Marino Ramirez at 6:33.
Coming right back, den Ouden scored once more moments later as he swatted in a rebound off an Owen Fergusson chance.
Countering in transition, the Eagles retook the lead when Kenny Belanger Jr., quickly snapped in a Paweski cross-ice feed.
Belanger Jr., then supplied his second of the evening I the third, and 50th career NOJHL goal, as he knocked in a loose puck in front of the crease during a power play.
Countering quickly, Cayden Kowal brought the guests closer by chipping one through Ramirez, while battling near the crease.
Notching the equalizer at 7:49, Espanola’s Lucas Signoretti led a rush up ice and moved to the slot where he ripped a shot into the left-hand corner.
They then got the go-ahead goal late, after killing off a two-man disadvantage and saw Fergusson collect an errant clearing attempt before firing a shot that was stopped, but he was right there to swat in the rebound.
The Paper Kings then completed the comeback in the final minute as Signoretti took a pass from Jack Lynes and guided it into the empty net, for a shorthanded effort, to cap-off the road victory.
With the win, Espanola raises their record to 17-10-0-0, while with the loss, the Eagles fall to 18-9-0-1.