FRENCH RIVER – Getting a goal and two assists from Devon Savignac helped propel the Espanola Express to a 6-1 triumph over the French River Rapids in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Saturday at the Noelville Community Centre.
A harmless looking dump in helped Espanola open the scoring early in the contest when Nicholas Toffoli gained the red line from the left boards and lifted the puck towards the net and saw it skip off the ice and past a surprised Rapids’ netminder Cole Sheffield for his first NOJHL goal.
French River came back to tie it near the five-minute mark of the frame as Levi Siau deftly redirected a Joshua Kingsbury left point shot.
However, the Express came right back moments later off an odd-man rush that saw Savignac put a pass on the tape of Bradley Brunet, which allowed him to lift in his chance to put the guests back on top and carry a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
In the second stanza, Espanola kept on rolling, striking twice in the opening moments to extend their lead.
The first marker came off a splendid one-handed effort by Luke Bibby as he chipped the puck over Sheffield who was attempting a poke check.
Right after that, Savignac went in on a breakaway after a French River defender fell at his own blueline, allowing the Express forward to dart in, deke to his right and slide in a back hand to make it 4-1 before the period was a minute old.
Opting to make a goaltending change after that, Hayden Williamson entered the Rapids net in relief.
Things tightened up from there as the rest of a period was scoreless as the visitors hit the second intermission up by three.
In the third, Espanola added another, which came off a cycle and was finished off by Brunet parked in front of the net.
They then capped off the road victory on Gavin Graham’s first in the league rounded out the scoring.
Carson Boutin faced 18 shots while picking up the win for the Express.
Sheffield suffered the loss, allowing four on 14 chances while Williamson kicked out 21 of 23 in relief.
Game Photos: Dal Photography