Canadians avoid game seven with a big shutout win
by Randy Pascal
The Rayside-Balfour Canadians avoided a seventh and deciding game in their NOJHL West Division semi-final series, coming through with their most
complete effort of the post-season in blanking the Soo Eagles 4-0 Tuesday night in Michigan.
The victory gave Rayside a four games to two series triumph, thus dodging the pressure that would have accompanied a do or die contest after leading the
playoff match-up three games to none at one point.
Benjamin Hatanaka opened the scoring in the first, netting what would stand as his second game-winning goal in the past ten days, with rookie
defenceman Joel Mongeon picking up the only assist.
For all intents and purposes, the Canadians put the encounter away in the middle stanza, receiving goals from Giordano Biondi and Noah
Serré, all while holding the Eagles to just 14 shots on the night.
With less than two minutes remaining, Brady Maltais added a little icing on the cake, scoring into an empty-net while Rayside netminder David
Bowen put a bow on his second shutout of the series.
Penalty-wise, it was a quiet affair, with the teams combining for just five minor penalties in total. The local junior crew will now advance to face
the Soo Thunderbirds in the divisional final, with games one and two lined up for this coming Saturday and Sunday.
The Canadians are back in Chelmsford for the next two matches, hosting the T-Birds on Wednesday (April 3rd) and Thursday (April 4th), with puck drop right
around 7:00 p.m. on both nights.