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Rayside-Balfour strikes late to defeat Espanola

ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Rayside-Balfour Canadians struck for three unanswered goals in the final seven and a half minutes of regulation to pull out a 6-3 victory over the Espanola Express Friday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at the Regional Recreation Complex.

After a scoreless first period, the Canadians opened the scoring 70 seconds into the middle stanza on a Noah Serre effort.

Espanola came back to tie things up a couple minutes later, during a man advantage, thanks to Matthew Reynolds, who picked up his fourth of the campaign.

Rayside-Balfour regrouped and regained the lead at 8:25 on Kyle Liinimaa’s seventh then saw Nick Belisle notch his first NOJHL marker six minutes later as he converted on a penalty shot.

Battling back early in the third the Express picked up goals from Diego Pasula, who connected for the first time in league play, and Collin McGuire with his second to knot the affair at 3-3.

Going to the power play, Rayside-Balfour broke the deadlock for good with 7:21 to go thanks to Christopher Clark.

The visitors also came back on the next shift and got another off the stick of Matthew Dokis-Dupuis before Eric Eschweiler iced it in the final minute to round out the night’s scoring.

Giordano Biondi and Alexander Fowke chipped in with two assists apiece in the triumph for RBC.

Shots on goal in the contest favoured the Canadians by a 41-36 count with Jean-Marc Brisson picking up the win while Eric Schneider suffered the setback.