BLIND RIVER, Ont. – A solid three-goal, one-assist performance by Jacob Kelly helped propel the Blind River Beavers to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Soo Thunderbirds Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League matinee at the Blind River Recreation Centre.
A solid start saw the home side collect a pair of first period markers to give them a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The initial tally came at 12:06 as Kelly picked up the rebound of an earlier shot that came right back to him and he made no mistake on the fresh opportunity as he snapped an attempt high over an outstretched Jake Marois in the Rayside-Balfour net.
It was more from Kelly later in the session as a shot block helped send him in alone on a breakaway where he converted again, going blocker side, to extend the hosts cushion.
Moving to the middle stanza, some nice puck movement aided in a third marker of the day for Blind River that was finished off on a backhand Jared Dupuis at 8:56.
The Canadians countered that midway through the second with Owen Perala getting the Canadians going offensively as he put in a rising shot from the high slot.
Continuing his impressive game, Kelly hit his hat trick as he was allowed to skate in from the left side, before choosing his spot, and picking the corner to make it 4-1 after two.
In the third, Nicholas DeGrazia struck shorthanded for Rayside-Balfour five minutes into the session by completing a goal-mouth scramble.
However, the hosts replied a couple of shifts later as Noah Minns stuffed in his fifth of the season with an effort from the top of crease to help secure the home victory.
Shots on goal finished 44-36 in favour of the Beavers with Gavin Disano getting the win while Marois suffered the defeat.