Many have suggested the game has changed in the NOJHL (Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League) this year - which stands to reason, given the pandemic protocols.
For the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, however, dramatic change was evident, even moving from one mini-series to the next.
A six game set with the Timmins Rock produced a grand total of 35 goals, just under six per game, to be precise. Just two matches into their sequence with the Blind River Beavers, the Highway 17 rivals have lit the lamp no less than 26 times, or 13 per game, more than double the offensive output from the previous month.
The contests, evenly split at 1-1 so far this week, have created no lack of excitement for partisans of each team, especially those who long for firewagon hockey.
The Canadians were looking to run away and hide, in the opener, launching themselves out to a 5-0 lead after one period play, and responding to a subsequent Blind River challenge in holding on for an 8-6 victory.
Linemates Owen Perala and Nick DeGrazia scored three goals each for the winners, with Oliver Smith and Mitchell Martin rounding things out. Noah Minns responded with two goals of his own in a losing cause, joined on the scoresheet by teammates Jared Dupuis, Jesse Dupuis, Justin Mauro and Jacob Kelly.
Two nights later in Chelmsford, it was a much more see-saw affair, the teams separated by one goal or less for the majority of the encounter as Blind River evened things up with a 7-5 triumph of their own.
Devin Mauro paced the attach with a two-goal effort, with Justin Mauro, Sam Davies, Lucas Adams, Jacob Kelly and Noah Minns chipping in with one goal apiece.
Gavin Brown scored twice for the homeside, with Mitchell Martin, Giordano Biondi and Nick DeGrazia also finding the back of the net as the Canadians and Beavers close out this quartet of tilts with games Saturday in Blind River and Sunday in Chelmsford.