Liinamaa scores in 8th straight as Canadians clip Wildcats

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The surging Rayside-Balfour Canadians saw Kyle Liinamaa score for an eighth straight game to help them win their sixth consecutive contest, a 6-1 victory Thursday, over the Elliot Lake Wildcats in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Chelmsford Arena.

Rayside-Balfour captain Matthew Neault gave the home side the early lead as he picked up his 16th of the season at 3:56 with James White and Evan Krassey both picking up their 20th assists on the play.

Jett Leishman made it 2-0 Canadians midway through the first period before David Dedo got one back for Elliot Lake at 13:53.

Ryan Burlington had one of the helpers on the Wildcats’ tally as he extended a point streak to five.

However, Rayside-Balfour broke it open in the middle stanza as they struck for four unanswered markers to take control.

Liinamaa started the offensive barrage at 1:26 to extend his goal streak before teammate James White scored on the power play at 5:13.

The Canadians kept coming from there with Leishman and Liinamaa each adding another to put them up by five through 40 minutes.

There would be no further scoring from there as with the win, Rayside-Balfour moved to within two points of a share of first place in the NOJHL West with the idle Soo Thunderbirds.

Scott Bagby, Jordan Spadafore and Justin Janowski all chiiped in with two assists apiece in the victory.

Of note, former Powassan Voodoos’ forwards Andy Baker and Gary Mantz tallied in nine and eight consecutive contests last season with Liinamaa joining the latter in the longest goal streaks in NOJHL play the past two campaigns.

Brayden Lachance finished with 34 saves to earn the decision for the Canadians.

Logan Sawka started for Elliot Lake and suffered the loss allowing the six against on faced 28 shots while back-up Kyle Dunlap turned aside all 16 attempts he saw in nearly 25 minutes of relief.

Photo courtesy of Rob and Caleigh Fera: