POWASSAN, Ont. – A Cade Herd goal with 5:13 remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Powassan Voodoos went on to edge the French River Rapids 5-4 Thursday evening in the regular season finale of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s 2018-19 campaign held at the Powassan Sportsplex.
The result means Powassan finishes third in the NOJHL East and will now meet the No. 2 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in a best-of-seven divisional semifinal.
Meanwhile, that puts the Timmins Rock to No. 4 and they will take on the No. 5 Cochrane Crunch in a best-of-three East quarter-final, with the winner there advancing to tangle the No. 1 Hearst Lumberjacks in the other East semifinal.
Thursday’s tilt was scoreless through one period of play before the Voodoos and Rock opened up for five tallies in the middle session.
Hunter Brazier started French River off with his 23rd of the campaign with assists going to Philippe Daoust and Will Frustaglio, 77 seconds into the stanza.
Powassan drew level at 6:55 on a Rico Rossi effort, only to see the visitors come right back and regain the lead just over a minute later off the stick of Frustaglio.
Regrouping, the Voodoos struck twice before the period was complete to take a 3-2 lead on goals from Samuel Bourdages and Joe Whittet.
In the third the home side extended their cushion midway through compliments of David Campbell before French River countered quickly again on Frustaglio’s 24th to bring the guests back to within one.
Continuing to trade goals, Herd went on to notch the difference maker while Brazier of the Rapids scored 55 seconds after that to tighten the proceedings once more with still 4:18 to play.
From there though the Voodoos held firm to secure the victory and the No. 3 seed in the East.
Dakotah Wood and Brett Shawana dished out two assists apiece for Powassan as did Daoust and Ryan Smith for French River while Frustaglio finished with a three-point night for the fourth time this season.
Shots on goal favoured on the night favoured the Voodoos 39-33 with Joe Vrbetic picking up the win while Nike Manetas suffered the setback in the season-ending defeat for the Rapids.