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Fransen hat trick lifts Rayside-Balfour to home-opening win

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015

Fransen hat trick lifts Rayside-Balfour to home opening win

CHELMSFORD, Ont. – Kyle Fransen scored a trio of power play tallies to help the Rayside-Balfour Canadians edge the Espanola Express 4-3 Saturday night in their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League home opener at Chelmsford Arena.

Matt Neault put the Canadians in front with the lone marker of the opening period as he connected 1:22 into the contest.

Espanola pulled even with a man advantage effort early into the middle session as MacKenzie Aiken notched his first of the campaign.

Fransen’s first power play goal made it 2-1 Rayside-Balfour 3:55 into the second with the score staying that way through 40 minutes.

Extra man marker No. 2 on the night for Fransen came 58 seconds into the third to put the home side up a pair.

Battling back, the Express capitalized with a Canadians player in the penalty box as Zack Pregent’s first NOJHL goal brought the visitors closer.

Countering that Fransen capped off his hat trick with 5:28 remaining in regulation with the eventual game-winner.

Espanola made it interesting with their third power play goal of the night with 53 seconds to go on a Joel Grandbois strike.

Rayside-Balfour would hang on from there to improve to 2-0 early in the season.

Brett Whitehead and Joel Lemay both dished out two assists from the winners while Cameron Anklewich had three helpers for the Express.

Jessie Morin made 30 saves to record the win for the Canadians.

Aaron Callon was peppered with 51 shots in a losing cause for Espanola finishing with 47 stops.