ESPANOLA, Ont. – A Todd McBain tally in the final minute of overtime lifted the Espanola Express to a dramatic 4-3 come from behind win over the Blind River Beavers Saturday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at the Regional Recreation Complex.
First period play saw the visiting Beavers skate out to a 2-0 lead on tallies from Sam McCue, at even strength, and James Ingram, on the power play.
McCue opened the scoring at 13:33 as he jammed in a loose puck off a left point blast that Espanola netminder Matthew Loney could not control.
That was followed by Ingram’s late marker in the session as he banked one in off an Express defender with an attempt from behind the goal line.
Moving to the middle stanza, the Express got on track in the back half of the session thanks to Liam Bridgeman chipping an Eric Barnard feed past Blind River’s Gavin Disano at the top of the crease.
They then drew level, while up a skater, off a Yan Bessette chance from the right, that was stopped by Disano, but the rebound pinballed off of Benjamin Lacroix and a Beavers defenceman before sliding in.
However, the visitors came back to retake the lead before the second intermission as they converted on a man advantage as well with Ingram notching another as he whipped one into the left corner from in close.
Netting the equalizer with 5:22 remaining in the third, Espanola drew level once more thanks Bessette as he stole the puck at mid-ice, then drove hard to the net around a Blind River skater and put one in front that was stopped, but Lacroix was right there to bang in the rebound and tie it at 3-3.
In OT, Loney made a couple of quality stops to keep his club in it.
One of those resulted in the Express breaking out on a two-on-one where Barnard set-up McBain, who fired a shot that was saved, but he was right there to slam in the game-winner to complete the comeback.
With the result, Loney and Espanola improved to 4-1 in the past five outings as they improved to 13-30-4-0 overall.
With the extra time setback, the Beavers dropped to 24-16-6-0.