Rayside-Balfour Canadians took the first game 8-6 in the NOJHL team’s four-game series against the Blind River Beavers on Tuesday night.
It was a much-needed win as the Junior A team was coming off a tough six-game series loss against the Timmins Rock, in which the Canadians only managed one win.
“The two-week break seemed to spark the Canadians offence as they potted eight goals on their way to an 8-6 win, which included a five-goal first period,” the team told Sudbury.com today.
Nick DeGrazia and Owen Perala both registered hat tricks during the match.
Five minutes into the first, Oliver Smith notched Rayside’s first goal, and shorthanded no less, with assists from Gavin Brown and Carter Geoffroy.
Five minutes later, DeGrazia put home his first of three goals, adding his second 1:24 after that. Perala and Brady Maltais drew assists on the second.
Mitchell Martin scored his third of the season at 14:36 of the period on the powerplay with helpers from Smith and Graeme Siren. Perala had the fifth goal of the period at 17:40 with Wilson Farrow adding his second assist of the year, putting the Canadians up 5-0 after the first period.
Blind River was the only team to score in the second, and they did it three times before the period ended with a score of 5-3 for the Canadians.
In the third, Perala scored twice in the first five minutes to give Rayside a four-goal lead. One of those was on the powerplay (assisted by Maltais and Geoffroy) while the other came shorthanded (DeGrazia).
Blind River wasn’t giving up though, and the Beavers closed the gap by adding three more over four minutes to make it 7-6 for the visiting Canadians.
“The Canadians fought off the pressing Beavers in the last few minutes and Nick DeGrazia would ice the game, and complete his hat trick, with an empty netter at 19:22 to make it 8-6 for the road team.”
Rayside outshot Blind River 38 to 36 in the game. David Bowen stood tall in goal for Rayside stopping 30 of the 36 he faced.
The teams meet again Thursday night at the Chelmsford arena at 7 p.m. Thursday night’s game will be broadcast on Eastlink Community TV channel 10 or 610 as well as online on HockeyTV. Overtime Sports Bar and Grill in Chelmsford will also have the game live on TV.