Photos: Jeremy Seguin
FRENCH RIVER – The Espanola Paper Kings rode the strength of a Lucas Signoretti hat trick to help them rally from an early deficit and pull out an eventual 6-3 win over the French River Rapids Sunday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Noelville Arena.
A quick outburst put the Rapids up by a pair prior to the proceedings reaching the five-minute mark.
Josh Russell got French River on track at 3:36 as he beat Espanola starter Jake Marois after being sent in alone on a breakaway and making a quick to deke to his right where he tucked a backhand by the netminder’s outstretched pad.
Coming right back, the home side made it 2-0 thanks Jack Ginocchi, who converted from short range to the left of Marois.
Regrouping, the Paper Kings countered at 6:07 on Anthony Bertrand’s first NOJHL goal as he finished off a Graydon Guthrie feed from behind the goal line from the top of the crease on Matthew Perdue.
Getting their multi-tally lead back late in the first period, Maksim Tugolukov was left with a cross-crease tap-in off a pass from Adam Boucher while the teams were skating four aside.
Moving to the middle stanza, Espanola pulled back to within one during a man advantage opportunity when Joshua Rumolo teed up Signoretti to crank a one-timer that flew by Perdue from the right circle, for his 25th tally of the campaign.
Signoretti then notched his second of the day after coming out of the penalty box where he was sent in alone by Guthrie and made no mistake by cutting wide and sliding his 26th overall into the open side.
Knotted at 3-3 into the third, the Paper Kings took the lead with 13 minutes remaining as Rumolo skated deep into the French River zone during a man advantage where he spotted Alexander Christopoulos alone in front and passed the puck over, which was then chipped in for the go-ahead marker.
Another power play effort extended the Espanola lead to two at 12:38 when Blake Peters-Davey picked the right hand corner off a feed courtesy of Kyle den Ouden.
Capping off the rally was Signoretti as his third of the day saw he cut around a Rapids’ defender then quickly buried his 27th goal of the campaign to wrap things up offensively.
The triumph sends the Paper Kings to a record of 22-17-2-2 while Rapids dropped to 6-36-1-1 in defeat.