Paper Kings pick-up pivotal win over Eagles

ESPANOLA, Ont. – Blake Peters-Davey scored three times on the power play to help lift the Espanola Paper Kings to an important 9-5 victory over the Soo Eagles Sunday in a chippy Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at the Regional Recreation Complex.

The win ties the two teams for fourth in the NOJHL West standings at 69 points apiece with the Paper Kings having two games remaining in the regular season and the Soo only one.

Visiting Sault Ste. Marie opened the scoring nearly eight minutes into the match-up when Jack Paweski jammed in a loose puck by Espanola netminder Jake Marois, during a goal-mouth scramble.

Answering with an equalizer, the Paper Kings drew level during a man advantage when Peters-Davey took a feed from Owen Fergusson on the right side and fired it past Eagles’ netminder Anthony Zolezzi at 12:34.

Peters-Davey then notched his second of the stanza, during another extra man opportunity, as he corralled a loose puck and deposited a backhand from just outside the crease.

Skating four aside, the home side tacked on another when Spencer Horgan powered hard off the side boards and while driving from left to right stuffed in his 28th tally of the season.

Heading to the second period, the Eagles pulled back to within one at 6:24 when Lucas Caulfield banked one off the skate of Marois and in from below the goal line.

However, special teams helped Espanola regain control as they picked up quick tallies, via the power play, and while shorthanded, to go ahead by three with half a game still to play.

Peters-Davey began the outburst with his third of the day as he converted from the right circle before Fergusson supplied a man-down marker by forcing a turnover and ripping a shot past Zolezzi.

The Paper Kings kept coming and scored again when Lucas Signoretti picked off a Soo pass in the neutral zone and darted in alone on a breakaway, which he took wide and slid the puck in for his league-leading 47th goal of the campaign.

Getting one back while up skater, Paweski stuffed in his second of the contest, only to see Fergusson supply his club’s fourth power play marker of the afternoon and make it 7-3 after 40 minutes.

A five-on-three effort from Horgan in the third added to the onslaught as did a one-timer from between the hash marks by Graydon Guthrie.

That resulted in a goaltending change for the guests, with Michael Shelley coming in and going the rest of the way.

Cooper Fredricks, shorthanded, and Alex Freund, on the power play, accounted for later markers for the Soo to round out the scoring.

The Paper Kings hold the tie breaker on the Eagles by virtue of taking the season set between the two sides, three wins to one.