A busy week highlighted by late-game heroics
by Randy Pascal
The Rayside-Balfour Canadians might be leaving things a little more to the last minute, or last few minutes, than head coach Steve Lauzon would
like, but they are surviving a very busy stretch of scheduling by more than holding their own.
Rookie defenceman Christopher Clark snapped a 3-3 tie with 7:33 remaining and Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis and Eric Eschweiler adding some late
insurance as the Canadians doubled the Espanola Express 6-3 Friday night in Espanola.
After a scoreless first period, the visitors appeared to grab control of the contest, outscoring the Express 3-1 in the middle frame on tallies from Noah Serre,
Kyle Liinamaa and Nick Belisle, with Mathew Reynolds getting Espanola on the board.
But goals from Diego Pasula and Collin McGuire just over three minutes apart pulled the homeside even, setting the stage for the game-winning surge
for the Canadians, who play their fourth game in just six days.
A third year veteran with the team, Liinamaa got the Rayside-Balfour week off on the right step, finding the back of the net with just 1.2 seconds remaining in
overtime, on Monday, as the Canadians pulled out a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Blind River Beavers.
Ironically, Liinamaa also opened the scoring, staking Rayside to a 1-0 lead with just 2:22 elapsed in the contest, only to see Brendan Young tie things up
before the end of the first.
The final two frames remained equally as tight checking as a power play marker from Eschweiler, with assists from Ryan O'Bonssawin and Evan Krassey,
was offset with the ninth goal of the season from Blind River captain, Caleb Serre.
David Bowen recorded the win between the pipes for Rayside, finishing the encounter with 32 saves. Thursday night in Chelmsford, Mathew Barazin
scored twice and Lucas Theriault, Avery Rebek and Nick Smith adding one each as the visiting Soo Thunderbirds dumped the Rayside-Balfour
Evan Krassey and Jett Leishman replied in a losing cause, as the locals prepare to wrap up this segment with a trip to Elliot Lake on Saturday
night to face the Wildcats.