Beavers search­ing for for­mula for late-game suc­cess

The Standard (Elliot Lake) - - BLIND RIVER - By KELLY JAMES For The Stan­dard

A dis­turb­ing trend of dis­ap­point­ing fin­ishes seems to be plagu­ing the Blind River Beavers as they ap­proach the mid­dle of the 2018-19 North­ern On­tario Ju­nior Hockey League sched­ule.

Though they re­main near the top of the NOJHL’S west­ern di­vi­sion stand­ings, the Beavers have failed to gain ground on the other con­tenders in the di­vi­sion in re­cent weeks. The pri­mary rea­son for the lack of progress ap­pears to be a pen­chant for sur­ren­der­ing leads late in games af­ter work­ing hard to gain an early ad­van­tage.

The trend con­tin­ued dur­ing a dif­fi­cult road trip over the past week­end, which saw the Beavers squan­der early leads against Kirk­land Lake and Powas­san. The Beavers led early in both games be­fore fall­ing 5-2 to the Gold Min­ers and 3-2 in over­time to the Voodoos. The Beavers also lost 3-2 to the French River Rapids, where they gave up a short-handed goal in the third pe­riod of a game that was tied at 2-2 at the time.

Be­gin­ning their road trip in Kirk­land Lake on Fri­day, the Beavers started fast and earned an early 1-0 lead when Sam Har­ris com­bined with Caleb Serre and Ri­ley Nadeau for a power-play goal. The lead held up un­til the mid­dle of the sec­ond pe­riod, when Gre­gory Trudeau-pa­quet scored for the Gold Min­ers to tie the score at 1-1.

The Beavers had an op­por­tu­nity move back in front later in the sec­ond stanza on a pow­er­play, but squan­dered the chance when Alex El­lie scored short-handed to put Kirk­land Lake ahead 2-1. The Beavers bounced back quickly, how­ever, when the trio of Serre, Har­ris and Nadeau clicked again to tie the game at 2-2.

The turn­ing point in the con­test came late in the sec­ond pe­riod, when Sam Ell­wood of the Gold Min­ers beat Blind River goalie Gar­ret Boy­onoski on a power-play to put Kirk­land Lake ahead 3-2 by the sec­ond in­ter­mis­sion. The Beavers were un­able to over­come the deficit in the third pe­riod, and gave up goals by Hunter Fore­shew and Vinny De­sanc­tis to lose by a fi­nal count of 5-2.

It was a sim­i­lar script in Powas­san for the Beavers, as the Voodoos ral­lied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 win in over­time. Once again, the Beavers started strongly, as Ryan Peck scored from Nathan En­gel and Ryan Nielsen less than eight min­utes into the con­test to give Blind River a 1-0 lead.

A power-play goal by Lu­cas Adams from Dante Cava­liere and Serre made it 2-0 for the Beavers late in the open­ing frame. Solid goal­tend­ing by Boy­onoski made the lead hold up un­til late in the sec­ond pe­riod, when Eric Al­lair scored for the Voodoos to cut the mar­gin to 2-1.

With mo­men­tum on their side, the Voodoos pushed hard for the ty­ing goal in the third pe­riod and were re­warded when Ryan Mills scored mid­way through the frame. The teams bat­tled on even terms for the re­main­der of reg­u­la­tion time, and through­out most of the over­time ses­sion un­til To­mas Yachmenev of Powas­san took mat­ters into his own hands to de­cide the game.

With ex­tra room to ma­neu­ver in over­time, Yachmenev took the puck in his own zone and flew down the right side of the ice to­ward the Blind River goal. Still at top speed, Yachmenev whis­tled a shot past Boy­onoski to com­plete the come­back and win the game for Powas­san.

The fol­low­ing af­ter­noon in Noelville, the Beavers fell be­hind French River 2-0 in the early go­ing on goals by Mac Diver and Hunter Bra­zier. How­ever, Blind River stormed back to tie the score at 2-2 be­fore the first in­ter­mis­sion on goals 62 sec­onds apart by Ryan Mul­li­gan and Nadeau.

The teams bat­tled on even terms through­out the sec­ond pe­riod and into the third, when the Beavers gained a pow­er­play op­por­tu­nity. The op­por­tu­nity was lost, how­ever, when Ja­cob Ro­mano set up Will Frustaglio to beat Beavers goalie Thom­son Phin­ney and give the Rapids a 3-2 lead with just un­der 14 min­utes left to play.

The Beavers threw ev­ery­thing into their come­back at­tempt, but were un­able to beat French River goalie Mar­shall Frap­pier to tie the score. The loss leaves the Beavers in third place in the west­ern di­vi­sion stand­ings, just be­hind the Ray­side-bal­four Cana­di­ans and the Sault Ste. Marie Thun­der­birds.

The Beavers play only once this week, a Satur­day evening tilt against their North Shore ri­vals in El­liot Lake, be­gin­ning at 7 at Cen­ten­nial Arena. The next home game for the Beavers comes on Satur­day, Nov. 17, when they host the Thun­der­birds.

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