ESPANOLA, Ont. – A Cooper Bowman unassisted power play effort with 34 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the French River Rapids to a narrow 3-2 win over the Espanola Express Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League game at the Regional Recreation Complex.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, French River broke the deadlock midway through the second stanza by converting while up a skater.
Getting that goal for the Rapids was Spencer Hughes as he jammed in a loose puck off a Chase Lefebvre blast from the point that got put by Espanola netminder Matthew Loney.
Picking up the tying tally with a man advantage of their own, the hosts scored with 21 seconds left in the middle session as Logan James moved along the blueline and whistled one from up high through a partial screen that flew past Cole Sheffield in the French River net for his first NOJHL marker.
In the third, after Dominik Godin put the Rapids back on top at 16:10 by ripping one past Loney from the left circle, the Express countered on the next shift to tie it thanks to Atley Gringorten, who stuffed in the rebound off an Owen Harris blast from the point.
Heading to extra time, Bowman won it late after chasing down the puck in the corner then proceeded to skate hard to the net where he took the puck across the crease and slid in the game-winner for his 20th tally of the season.
Sheffield picked up the win as the Rapids improved to .500 on the year at 21-21-2-0.
Loney’s solid effort aided in Espanola picking up a point in defeat as the Express dipped to 9-23-3-0 overall.