GALLERY: Powassan rallies for shootout win over Espanola

POWASSAN, Ont. – Conor O’Brien provided the lone goal in the shootout Saturday, helping the Powassan Voodoos rally from an early deficit and defeat the Espanola Paper Kings 3-2 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at the Powassan Sportsplex.

A good start for Espanola saw them strike twice in the opening three minutes to take an early edge in the contest.

Atley Gringorten got the first one for the Paper Kings as he made a nice move around a Powassan defender then went in and lifted a backhand over the pad of Voodoos netminder Kannon Flageolle at 2:12.

The visitors then came right back on a Justin Seguin effort as he darted up the ice and just over the blueline and whipped a shot off the post and in.

A Powassan power play helped them cut into the deficit when O’Brien took a Rhys Smetham feed and raised a backhander over the shoulder of Espanola starter Jake Marois.

Staying 2-1 for the guests into the second stanza, the tight-checking session saw neither side able to convert offensively as the Paper Kings carried their slim lead into the third period.

There, the Voodoos tied it nearly six minutes in when Smetham knocked in a bouncing puck from the left of the crease.

Staying tied through the remainder of regulation and the five-minute overtime, extra attempts were needed to determine a winner.

In the shootout, O’Brien was the only one to convert as he skated in on Powassan’s second shot and made a nifty move to his left where his deposited a backhander over the pad of Marois.

Flageoelle meanwhile was solid after a tough start, stopping everything fired his way after that, including thwarting all three Paper Kings’ attempts following OT.

The victory sees Powassan improve to 36-15-1-0 on the year while with a point in defeat, Espanola dropped to 26-21-2-3 overall.

The two sides will now cap off a weekend home-and-home Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Espanola’s Regional Recreation Complex.