ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians built up a comfortable lead in the third period then had to withstand a late comeback bid by the Elliot Lake Wildcats before eventually prevailing 8-7 Friday in a high-scoring Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Centennial Arena.
Rayside-Balfour started strong in this one grabbing a 3-1 lead after one period of play as Jacob Partridge, Ethan Lavalee and Brady Maltais all connected for the visitors while Nick Long picked up the Wildcats marker in the frame.
After Long brought Elliot Lake to within one with his second of the night midway through the middle stanza, James White, shorthanded, and another from Maltais made it 5-2 Canadians after two.
Baldino Aiello then upped it to 6-2 three minutes into the third before the Wildcats responded with goals from Brett Crook and Eric Norman’s first to make it close once more.
Countering, Rayside-Balfour saw Matthew Neault and Evan Krassey strike 30 seconds apart later in the period to put their team seemingly in control.
Continuing to battle back, Elliot Lake saw Jacob Kelly and Connor Taylor’s initial league effort make it 8-6 with 65 seconds left in the regulation.
They then got one more in the final moments from Clark Allair, but time would expire as the Canadians held on for their sixth straight victory.
Jordan Spadafore and Darcy Winkler had two assists each for RBC while Evan Spencer had four helpers and Kelly three for the home side.
MacKenzie Savard was the winning goaltender seeing 37 shots fired his way.
Parker Simpson started for the Wildcats but gave way to Allan Menary after the third Rayside-Balfour tally.
Simpson faced nine attempts in nearly 13 and a half minutes of work while Menary suffered the loss in relief allowing five on 39 attempts.