Photos: Ray MacAloney / OJHL Images
TRENTON, Ont. – A pair of early shorthanded tallies, along with a late man advantage marker, helped send OJHL Hawerchuk past NOJHL West 5-3 Monday in Day 1 play at the Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge in Trenton, Ont.
Striking first, NOJHL West broke out of their own zone and saw Cameron Shanks (Greater Sudbury Cubs) come in along the side boards before spinning and finding Noah Aboflan (Elliot Lake Vikings) driving down the slot where he took the pass and ripped it past the blocker of OJHL netminder Braeden Shaikh at 6:10.
Answering with an equalizer, Alex Hebblethwaite took an up-ice feed and split the defence as he powered his way to the net and put a backhander by Andrew Gaulton (Espanola Paper Kings), while crashing into the crease.
Striking shorthanded, OJHL Hawerchuk took the lead at 14:34 when Dylan Edwards collected a turnover near his own blueline and darted down the ice on a two-on-one where he finished off a quick give-and-go with Dylan Hudon.
They then notched another man-down effort a couple of minutes later thanks to Charlie Key who raced in alone on a breakaway and buried a shot, low glove-side, on Gaulton.
Sill up a skater though, the NOJHL’s leading scorer, Lucas Signoretti (Espanola Paper Kings), made it 3-2 as a rebound off an Oliver Smith (Greater Sudbury Cubs) chance came right to him in the left circle where he sizzled a shot that flew by Shaikh.
Answering with a tying tally in the final frame, Jackson Truchan (Soo Thunderbirds) flew down the right wing and went hard to the net where he tucked the puck between the legs of Shaikh to finish off an impressive individual effort.
Adding a third special teams goal, that came with less than three minutes remaining, the OJHLers got the game-winner, via the power play, as they worked the puck around nicely before a waiting Luc Malkhassian, on the left side, took a cross-ice feed and whipped it by a diving Gaulton.
They then came right back and saw Trevor Hoskin chip one in from the top of the crease.
A two-man advantage, as well as having the goalie out for an additional skater, gave the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League squad a final opportunity to make it interesting at the end, but OJHL Hawerchuk held firm to secure the victory.
Picking up player of the game honours for their respective sides were Shanks and defenceman Carson Lloyd.
Team NOJHL West is back at it later today as they take on the Perron selects from the Quebec AAA Junior Hockey League at 5:20 p.m., and on FLOHockey.tv.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel