Canadians finding goals hard to come by
by Randy Pascal
Back on November 15th, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians offense exploded, racking up no less than eight goals in doubling the Espanola Express
8-4. Unfortunately, in their remaining five games in November, to date, the Canadians have lit the lamp only on a combined ten occasions.
That is a big part of the reason that Rayside-Balfour have lost three of their past four games, a sequence that has recently seen the team drop a 2-1
decision, at home, to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners followed, two days later, by a 4-1 road loss to the Blind River Beavers.
Battling the East Division front-runners last Thursday (Kirkland Lake is currently tied with the Timmins Rock for top spot), the Canadians
connected in the opening minute of play, but not again through the final 59:28.
Ben Hatanaka converted on passes from Zachary Snow and Evan Krassey to open the scoring, but Kirkland Lake got that one back less
than five minutes later, courtesy of Patrick Murphy.
In a contest that would see the goalies rule the roost through the final two periods, the Gold Miners netted the game-winning goal, on the power-play,
late in the first, as Noah Cauchi buried his fourth of the year.
Puckstoppers Gregory Brassard (KL) and David Bowen (RB) combined to make 82 saves, 47 by Bowen alone. Making the trip to Blind River on
Saturday, the Canadians were once again outshot badly, as the Beavers assaulted goaltender Sebastian Plamondon with no less than 57 pucks, compared
to the 30 shots that were faced by Garrett Boyonoski, in net for the homeside.
Rayside again drew first blood, as Brett McGlade hit the mark early in the first, before Blind River recorded a pair of tallies in each of period
two and three, pulling away for victory.
Brendan Young pulled the Beavers even, before captain Caleb Serré added both a GWG and an insurance marker to his stat line, with Lucas
Adams closing the book on the offense midway through the final stanza.
The win gave the Beavers just a little breathing room in second place in the NOJHL West, their record of 15-8-4-1 (35 pts) leaving them three points back
of the Soo Thunderbirds (19-5-0-0). As for Rayside-Balfour, they certainly remain in the thick of things, holding down third place and trailing the
Beavers by just four points at 14-11-1-2.
Coach Dan Cuomo and the boys return to action on Thursday, playing host to the Elliot Lake Wildcats (10-16-0-2=22) in Chelmsford, heading
State-side on Friday do faceoff against the Soo Eagles (11-16-0-0=22) at Pullar Stadium.
The team will be without the services of defencemen Christopher Clark (five game suspension for instigating) and Ethan Lavallee (two game
suspension for a major/game for boarding).