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Express rally to clip Eagles in OT

ESPANOLA, Ont. – A Zachary Matyasik power play marker, 3:25 into overtime, helped the Espanola Express rally from a three-goal deficit and defeat the visiting Soo Eagles 6-5 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Sunday at the Regional Recreation Complex.

It was the visiting Eagles that gained the upper hand early as they tallied twice in the opening 20 minutes to go up by a pair.

Raf Praysner converted on a power play at 7:40 for Sault Ste. Marie while teammate Jake Lamberty connected at even strength midway through the session.

In the middle stanza, the Eagles went up by three early in the frame on Logan Eggleston’s first in league play.

Finding their stride in the back half of the stanza, Espanola struck twice before the period was complete to pull within one as Jonah Devereux and Matais Salem both found the back of the net.

The Express then tied it 76 seconds into the third on a Diego Pasula effort.

Up a skater, the Soo’s Praysner added his second power play marker of the contest to put the guests back in front at 11:50.

That set the stage for a frantic finish with Cameron Walker of the Express and Bobby Price of the Eagles trading tallies moments apart as the Eagles carried a 5-4 lead with two minutes to play.

Answering back again, the hosts forced OT as Devereux connected at 18:31 to give his side a chance.

Picking up a man advantage in the extra session, Espanola worked it around to the point where a shot was stopped by Soo goaltender Ryan Gilmore, but the rebound went right to an open Matyasik at the side of the crease, who promptly stuffed in the game-winner and complete the comeback.

Price and Tommy Buis chipped in with two assists apiece in defeat for the Eagles.

Espanola held the edge in shots as well by a 49-42 margin with Andrew Rocha earning the win while Gilmore’s 43 stops helped the Eagles earn a point.