CHELMSFORD, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats picked up a pair of goals and an assist from Connor Taylor and two tallies, including the game-winner, off the stick of Josh Bifolchi to help send them to a 5-2 road victory over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Division meeting Thursday at Chelmsford Arena.
Elliot Lake stormed out of the gate in this one as Taylor opened the proceedings offensively just 19 seconds into the contest.
Rayside-Balfour did draw level before the first frame was complete as captain Evan Krassey collected his fifth of the season at 11:27.
The Wildcats also added an early marker in the middle stanza as well with Brett Crook connecting on the power play 97 seconds into the session.
Bifolchi then added the eventual difference maker in the late going of the period as he finished off the work of Taylor and Carson Androli at 19:36.
Down a skater near the nine-minute mark of the third, the Canadians would click shorthanded as Benjamin Hatanaka swiped the puck off an Elliot Lake defender at the blueline then darted in alone on Wildcats’ netminder Dominic Boily and made a couple of quick dekes before moving right and sliding in seventh into the open net to make it 3-2.
However, Bifolchi came right back on the same man advantage and notched his second of the night and eighth overall to restore the two-goal cushion.
Taylor then iced it in the late going with a shorthanded empty netter as his NOJHL-co-leading 11th of the campaign sealed it for the Wildcats.
Boily turned in a solid performance for Elliot Lake in picking up the win as he finished with 45 stops on the night.
Jean-Marc Brisson started for Rayside-Balfour and suffered the loss allowing three against on 29 attempts in two periods of work while David Bowen saved seven of eight in the third.