Photos: Helene Rancourt
BLIND RIVER, Ont. – An early three-goal lead sent the Blind River Beavers on their way to an eventual 7-2 win over the Elliot Lake Red Wings Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest held at the Blind River Recreation Centre.
The hometown Beavers got going offensively four and a half minutes into the proceedings when Michael Gallagher chopped a puck to Jacob Kovacs, who had plenty of room to finish off his 11th goal of the season.
Going to the power play helped Blind River make it 2-0 at 11:32 of the first period as Caleb Minns did a little dash in the Elliot Lake end before eventually zipping a shot from the left circle that flew past Red Wings’ goalkeeper Sean Guerin.
A third tally for the home side came five minutes later as Minns won a race to the puck behind the goal line and chipped it in front to a waiting Jesse Dupuis, who threw it into the top shelf for his 27th overall NOJHL marker.
Getting one back before the intermission, the Red Wings’ Ethan Mercer put a backhand off the end boards that bounced to Sam Noad, who lifted his chance by Blind River starter Gavin Disano at 18:16.
Second period play saw the visitors pull to within one less than a minute into the stanza as Noad put a rising attempt across to Ryan Daponte who quickly fired it into the open corner.
Blind River responded though a couple of shifts later when Nicholas Brady put one through the maze of bodies that found its way in from the high slot.
Going up 5-2 after 40 minutes, the Beavers Jack Robinson wheeled up the left wing with speed before snapping one by Guerin with a crisp snap shot.
In the third, special teams helped the hosts put the game away as Evan Fraccaro converted on a man advantage while Minns struck shorthanded.
Fraccaro’s effort was a one-timer from between the hash marks and Minns’ man-down marker saw him finish off a two-man break via a crisp give-and-go with Robinson.
With the win, Blind River wins for a 30th time on the campaign, going to 30-10-2-2 overall.
Meanwhile in defeat, Elliot Lake fell to 13-27-1-2.