Game Photos: Northern Exposures
ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – Alexander Christopoulos’ second goal of the night was the game-winner and part of a three-tally third period outburst as the Espanola Express went on to defeat the Elliot Lake Red Wings 7-4 Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest held at Centennial Arena.
A free-wheeling opening 20 minutes saw the two sides combine for five goals, including three by Elliot Lake.
Skating in his first game with the Express, recently acquired forward Atley Gringorten connected in his Espanola debut as he powered down the left wing and fired a shot that got through Elliot Lake starter Cameron Smith at 2:26.
Countering a couple of shifts later, the Red Wings’ Brock McNaughton tied it by whipping one over the shoulder of Express netminder Colby Ramsdale after being set-up by Dayton Clarke.
Regaining the lead at 16:43, the visitor’s Christopoulos picked up his first with the club after the Express had a couple of whacks at the puck from close range.
Battling back, Elliot Lake struck twice before the first period came to a close to take a 3-2 lead into the intermission.
Matthew Shulist scored for a third straight outing to give him 10 on the year at 17:11 as he flew down the wing and ripped a shot that the goalkeeper could only get a piece of before it trickled over the goal line.
The Red Wings then saw Aidan Leblanc pick up his fifth of the season after that as he took a centering pass and chipped it over Ramsdale’s shoulder.
A frenzied start to the middle stanza saw each team convert once in the opening minute.
Another freshly acquired player, in Pineshish Whiteduck, scored for the Express 14 seconds in as he finished off a two-on-one with James Eng only to see Elliot Lake’s Clarke counter by wiring one in from the right of the net off a face-off win.
This resulted in Espanola making a goaltending change, with Patrick Boivin entering and going the rest of the way.
The back-and-forth affair saw Ty McHutchion sent in alone on a breakaway and bury a shot into the left corner to level the proceedings at 4-4 after two.
Retaking the lead nearly five minutes into the third, Espanola’s Logan James pumped one on net from the left point that was stopped by Smith, but Christopoulos was there to back hand in his second of the night.
A great rush up the ice by Jack Thor helped the visitors add some insurance as he darted along the left wing then put a pass out right to Eng who promptly hit the 10-goal plateau from the high slot at 4:33.
Kobe Braham then capped off the road victory with an empty netter in the final minute to round out the night’s scoring.
Boivin went on the handle all 35 shots he faced in nearly 40 minutes of work to collect the win while Ramsdale gave up four against on 20 chances.
A busy Smith in the Elliot Lake net saw him face 66 attempts in defeat.
VIDEO “Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel