Rapids rally to slip past Wildcats

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – A four-goal third period, including Alex Goettlicher’s game-winner with four and a half minutes remaining in regulation helped the French River Rapids rally for a 5-4 triumph over the Elliot Lake Wildcats in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Friday at Centennial Arena.

A late first period man advantage opportunity saw Elliot Lake pick up the lone marker of the session when Evan Spencer collected his 10th goal of the season at 17:34.

Another power play chance helped the Wildcats go up 2-0 when Jacob Kelly picked up his 11th at 11:48 of the second stanza.

French River did come back a couple shifts later to pull within one as Jacob Romano’s sixth put the Rapids on the board at 14:31.

Elliot Lake restored their two-goal cushion early in the third on a David Elford effort only to see French River strike twice a 43-secon span to level the proceedings with Gregory Trudeau-Paquet notching his league-leading 16th before Levi Siau’s 11th tied it with just under 14 minutes left in regulation.

A third straight Rapids marker saw them take the lead at 12:40 with Trudeau-Paquet picking up another to reach 17 overall on the season.

The back-and-forth affair saw Kelly tie it for the Wildcats 55 seconds later only to see Goettlicher complete the French River comeback with his eventual difference maker.

Donny Schultz and Christian Gaudreau helped set-up two tallies apiece for the winning side.

William Bucsis did have three assists on the night for Elliot Lake giving him a NOJHL-best 19 helpers on the year to date.

Jean-Marc Brisson started for the Rapids and gave up one against on 15 shots in one period of work while Spencer Eschyshcyn handled 29 of 32 to record the win in 40 minutes of relief.

Logan Sawka got the start for the Wildcats and suffered the setback saving 38 of 43 along the way.

Photo credit: Joanne Grise