CHELMSFORD, Ont. – On a night where Matt Neault of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians tied the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League mark for regular season games played at 243, it was his teammates that led the way to help send their club to a 5-0 triumph over the Elliot Lake Wildcats Thursday at Chelmsford Arena.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, it was all Rayside-Balfour in the second period as they scored three times in the session to gain the upper hand on the Wildcats.
Taylor Woolcott got the Canadians going three and a half minutes into middle stanza on a set-up from Jacob Partridge.
The duo then combined once more to extend the home side’s lead at 12:43 with Woolcott adding his second of the period thanks to assists from Partridge and Ethan Lavallee.
Partridge then made it 3-0 later in the frame as Rayside-Balfour took the cushion into the third.
In the final session, Brady Maltais finished off the work of Partridge and Woolcott at 6:37 to extend the lead before Gabriel Rheault concluded things offensively for the Canadians in the latter stages of the contest.
The four-point night for Partridge was a career single-game high while Woolcott and Maltais both contributed three points apiece.
Jean-Marc Brisson started for Rayside-Balfour and picked up the win handling all 16 shots he faced before giving way to Brayden Lachance at 8:33 of the second period. Lachance also had 16 stops, in relief, for the Canadians.
Wildcats goaltender Allan Menary faced 45 shots against in the loss.
The same two teams meet again Friday as they finish off a home-and-home at Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake where Neault can set the new league mark for regular season games played at 244 surpassing his and Chris Pontes’ current all-time total.
Photo courtesy of Rob and Caleigh Fera: www.sudburylight.ca