ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – A Max Khull power play goal early in the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Blind River Beavers went on to earn a hard-fought 2-1 road victory over the Elliot Lake Wildcats Thursday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Centennial Arena.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Beavers struck quickly in the second stanza as Jack Sampson connected 37 seconds into the session and collected his seventh marker of the season with assists going to Khull and Owen Robinson.
It stayed that way until 1:32 into the final frame when Blind River’s Khull capitalized on a man advantage opportunity to put the visitors up by a pair as he picked up his 19th goal of the year with help from Caleb Serre and Robinson.
Elliot Lake would eventually get on the board midway through the third thanks to Jacob Kelly’s 22nd with Connor Taylor, who picked up his initial league assist, and Nick Long having the helpers.
The Wildcats looked for the equalizer to try and force overtime, however Beavers’ netminder Michael Corson shut the door the rest of the way as he finished off a solid outing with 40 saves in all to record the win.
Logan Sawka was stellar between the pipes for Elliot Lake as well, making 47 stops along the way in the narrow defeat.
The two points for Robinson gives the league’s representative at the upcoming Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Prospects Game, Jan. 23 in Mississauga, Ont., 40 on the year, which leads all NOJHL rookies.
With the triumph, Blind River improves to 22-15-2-0 on the season while the Wildcats slipped to 16-21-1-0.
Elliot Lake returns to the ice tomorrow night as they visit Espanola to take on the Express at 7:30 p.m. in their final game before the holiday break.
As for the Beavers, their next on-ice NOJHL action will be January 4th as they travel to Rayside-Balfour to meet the Canadians in a 7 p.m. start.