FRENCH RIVER – A Jack Tos five-hole marker proved to be the only goal in the shootout as the French River Rapids prevailed with a 5-4 triumph over the Espanola Express in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Saturday night at the Noelville Community Centre.
After also coming away victorious in extra shots Friday, French River would open the scoring as they clicked early in the contest by skating out of their own zone and into Espanola territory where Kyle Avery snapped a shot from the left wing boards that found its way past Express netminder Carson Boutin.
Answering with the equalizer seven minutes in was Wade Bolton, who walked into a one-time blast from the slot to knot the affair at 1-1.
Espanola then took the lead before the first frame was complete as Luke Bibby went sent in all alone on a breakaway, where he made no mistake by wiring his attempt into the upper right portion of the net for his initial NOJHL goal.
After falling behind 3-1 in the second stanza when Ben Anderson of the Express went upstairs on Rapids goalkeeper Cole Sheffield from close range, French River had a chance to cut into the deficit after being awarded a penalty shot.
However, Nolan Burnside was thwarted by the right pad of Boutin on the opportunity.
Late in the period though, Levi Siau swiped the puck off an Express defender at the blueline while shorthanded then skated in and beat Boutin to make it 3-2 after 40 minutes.
French River then drew level early in the third as Jack Ginocchi attempted to feed it in front and saw the puck inadvertently clip off the stick of an Espanola defenceman and slide into the open side.
Getting that back, Josh Boucher took a crisp cross-crease pass, controlled it, then snapped in the tying tally on a power play.
Back and forth they went with the Rapids’ Tos finishing off a goal-mouth scramble.
Going to extra shots again, French River prevailed once more as Tos deftly tucked one between the legs of the Express goalkeeper for the winner as the Rapids improved to 2-0 early on the season.
Shots on goal finished up 40-37 in favour of the Espanola with Sheffield getting the win while Boutin helped his club earn a point in defeat.
Game Photos: Dal Photography