ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Espanola Express picked up the game-winning goal and an assist from Connor Tessier to aid in a 3-2 triumph over the French River Rapids Thursday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League preseason match-up at the Regional Recreation Complex.
Chad Lafortune did give French River the lead as he connected during a man advantage opportunity at 3:45.
Espanola drew level later in the first period when Jackson Heacock finished off a Jace Pitawanakwat feed at 12:52.
The lone marker in the middle frame came off the stick of Logan Fennema of the Express as he connected 12 minutes into the session.
Down a man in the early stages of the third Espanola’s Tessier was sent in alone on a shorthanded breakaway and he made no mistake notching the eventual difference maker with 15:44 left in regulation.
Greg Trudeau-Paquet’s man-down marker of his own for the Rapids at 13:11 pulled the visitors to within one, but that’s as close as they would get before time expired.
Jacob Hutching made 27 saves to pick up the win for the Express and Spencer Eschyschyn finished with 39 stops in defeat.
Next up for the respective clubs sees French River heading to Powassan Friday to take on the Voodoos at 2 p.m. at the Sportsplex while Espanola travels to Cochrane to meet the Crunch at 8 p.m. at the Tim Horton Event Centre as part of Day 1 play of the Polar Bear Classic.