Beavers lose twice to fall into sec­ond place tie

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

The blind river beavers com­pleted a ho-hum month of novem­ber by los­ing twice last week­end to fall into a tie for sec­ond place in the western divi­sion of the north­ern on­tario Ju­nior hockey league.

The beavers gave up an early four-goal lead on their way to a crush­ing 6-4 de­feat at the hands of the divi­sion-lead­ing sault ste. marie Thun­der­birds last Thurs­day. Two nights later, the beavers lost a nar­row 3-2 de­ci­sion on home ice to the cochrane crunch.

The losses leave the beavers with a record of 15 wins, 10 losses in reg­u­la­tion time and an­other five losses in over­time or shootouts for a to­tal of 35 points. They are tied with the ray­side-bal­four cana­di­ans for sec­ond place in the divi­sion, seven points be­hind the Thun­der­birds.

af­ter gain­ing some ground in the stand­ings dur­ing oc­to­ber, the beavers es­sen­tially stood still dur­ing novem­ber. The team sported a record of four wins, three reg­u­la­tion losses and three more over­time losses, while the Thun­der­birds as­sumed com­mand atop the stand­ings by com­pil­ing seven straight wins.

The beavers looked to have a great op­por­tu­nity to gain ground on the T-birds in their match in sault ste. marie, only to fall apart in the sec­ond half of the con­test. blind river took a 2-0 lead mid­way through the first pe­riod on goals just 38 sec­onds apart by sam har­ris and bren­dan young.

early in the sec­ond pe­riod, it ap­peared that the beavers were on their way to an easy win af­ter goals by Tyler nott and ryan Peck in the first two min­utes of the frame gave blind river a com­mand­ing 4-0 ad­van­tage. how­ever, the Thun­der­birds be­gan to find their foot­ing as the pe­riod wore on, and man­aged to cut the deficit to 4-2 by the sec­ond in­ter­mis­sion on goals by lu­cas The­ri­ault and avery re­bek.

The Thun­der­birds con­tin­ued to build mo­men­tum in the third pe­riod, and cut the lead to 4-3 on a goal by Gage steph­ney with 12 min­utes re­main­ing to play. From that point, the beavers seemed to lose their dis­ci­pline, re­sult­ing in a slew of power-play op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Thun­der­birds.

The league-lead­ing soo squad cap­i­tal­ized on their chances with the man­power ad­van­tage to jump into the lead. The­ri­ault scored his sec­ond pow­er­play goal of the con­test to tie the score at 4-4, then min­utes later an­other power-play goal by kaidan mcdon­ald gave the T-birds a 5-4 lead.

The beavers pressed for the ty­ing goal in the late stages of the game, and pulled goalie Gar­ret boy­onoski for an ex­tra at­tacker in the fi­nal minute of play. The move back­fired, how­ever, when nick smith scored into the empty net to fin­ish off the 6-4 come­back vic­tory for the Thun­der­birds.

The beavers fell vic­tim to some great goal­tend­ing by bradley dobson of cochrane as they fell at home to the crunch on satur­day evening. dobson stopped 51 of 53 shots by blind river skaters to lead his team to a hard fought 3-2 tri­umph.

Fol­low­ing a cau­tious start to the con­test, the beavers be­gan to dom­i­nate play and fired 19 shots on goal in the first pe­riod. how­ever, dobson thwarted the beavers at ev­ery turn, and cochrane took the lead late in the pe­riod on a power-play goal by Justin bof­shever.

The beavers bat­tled back early in the sec­ond pe­riod and tied the score at 1-1 on a goal by young from har­ris and ethan Gra­ham. later in the pe­riod, how­ever, the crunch re­gained the lead when baldino aiello scored to give cochrane a 2-1 lead head­ing into the third pe­riod.

The beavers threw ev­ery­thing they had at dobson in the fi­nal frame, but the cochrane goalie stopped ev­ery­thing he saw. With time run­ning out, the beavers pulled boy­onoski once again, only to see the move back­fire for a sec­ond straight game as austin Wheeler scored into the empty net to give the crunch a 3-1 lead.

Though the beavers man­aged a power-play goal by lu­cas adams with 25 sec­onds left on the clock, they sim­ply ran out of time as they at­tempted to rally in the dy­ing sec­onds of the con­test. boy­onoski was solid in goal for the beavers in de­feat, stop­ping 40 of 42 shots by the crunch.

The beavers have a trio of play­ers near the top of the no­jhl scor­ing race. caleb serre, ri­ley nadeau and bren­dan young have all amassed 35 points this sea­son, just a few be­hind league leader lu­cas The­ri­ault of the Thun­der­birds.

The beavers will try to get back on the win­ning track this week­end as they face the ray­side-bal­four cana­di­ans in chelmsford on Thurs­day evening. The next home game for the beavers comes on mon­day evening, as they host the sault ste. marie, michi­gan, ea­gles at 7 at the blind river com­mu­nity cen­tre.

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