TIMMINS, Ont. – The French River Rapids made an early statement to begin their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League campaign by defeating the Timmins Rock 3-1 in their opening regular season contest Friday in front of over 1,000 fans at McIntyre Arena.
Goals just under a minute and a half apart in the first period put French River up by two thanks to Jacob Uridil and Gregory Trudeau-Paquet.
A Jordan Picard marker put the Rapids up 3-0 at 17:47, but Timmins came right back 16 seconds later on C.J. Bradburn’s first NOJHL tally.
The Rock opted to replace starter Brendan Bishop in favour of Eric Jackson to begin the middle frame.
The two sides tightened up defensively in the middle stanza, which was scoreless.
Goaltender Spencer Eschyshcyn did the rest for French River as he finished up by stopping 25 of the 26 shots he faced to record the victory.
Bishop suffered the loss allowing the three against on eight attempts while Jackson handled all 13 pucks he faced in lengthy relief.
Featuring a pair of first-year NOJHL coaches, it was former NHLer Ken Strong that picked up his first league victory as Rapids’ bench boss over Corey Beer, who joined the Rock after winning a RBC Cup with the Cobourg Cougars of the OJHL in May.