Canadians hold off Express comeback

ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians withstood a third period comeback bid by the Espanola Express before eventually prevailing with a 4-2 victory in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter Friday night at the Regional Recreation Complex.

After defeating the Express on home ice Thursday, Rayside-Balfour kept it going in the first frame Friday by skating out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play on tallies from Chase Stillman and Chase Atkins.

The Canadians then added to their cushion early in the middle session with Matthew Dokis-Dupuis notching his 18th marker of the campaign at 2:19.

Espanola got themselves on the board two and a half minutes into the third period thanks to Leonidis Mihalochristas, who picked up his second marker of the year.

Continuing to battle back, the Express added another, via the power play, with just over nine minutes remaining on a Collin McGuire goal.

Up a man again in the late going as well as having their goaltender out for an extra attacker, Espanola had a chance to tie and force overtime, but Atkins struck shorthanded, putting one into an empty net, to pickup his second goal of the night with 89 seconds remaining to help seal the road decision.

Atkins also had an assist to finish with a three-point night.

Canadians netminder Sebastien Plamondon made 30 saves to record the win while Express goalkeeper Joel Rainville had 27 stops in defeat.