FRENCH RIVER – Riding the stellar goaltending of Elijah Grant, the French River Rapids surprised the Timmins Rock 2-1 Thursday night in a thrilling Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Noelville Arena
Timmins had a number of man advantage opportunities in the first period and held a considerable edge in shots, but Grant held firm to keep the frame scoreless after 20 minutes, as did the efforts of Rock netminder Patrick Boivin.
Heading to the middle stanza, the two teams continued to battle hard, but once again the defensive efforts of each club sent them to the second intermission still in search of the night’s opening tally.
In the third, the Rapids broke the stalemate during a man advantage opportunity, just over seven minutes in, when defenceman Pijus Zemaitis fed Kai Clayton in the left circle where he skated in and roofed a short-side wrister past a screened Boivin.
Going up by a pair at 13:44, French River’s Nolan Masson scooped up a loose puck in close and lifted it in the extend the home side’s lead.
Timmins finally solved Grant, while shorthanded, with two and a half minutes remaining as Nolan Ring raced down the ice and forced a turnover, which he put in front, that was quickly buried by Jaden Lyons parked in close.
The Rock battled hard late with their goalie out to try and force overtime, but the Rapids held off a furious frenzy in front of Grant as time expired to pull out the victory.
With the win, French River improved to 4-17-1-0 on the campaign.
In the narrow defeat, Timmins fell to 13-7-0-2.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel