Team NOJHL falls 3-2 in Eastern Canada Cup Challenge opener
CORNWALL, Ont. – A Liam Folkes (Brockville Braves) power play goal midway through the final period proved to be the game-winner as the Central Canada Hockey League Robinson Division Selects rallied to edge Team Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League 3-2 in Day 1 play of Eastern Canada Cup Jr. A Challenge at the Benson Centre in Cornwall.
Taking advantage of just their second shot of goal, Jaren Bellini (Soo Thunderbirds) opened the scoring for the NOJHL as his sharp angle shot from left side when high over the shoulder CCHL netminder Evan DeBrouwer (Smiths Falls Bears) and into the back of the net.
Team NOJHL came right back on the next shift and added another as league-leading scorer, Hunter Atchison (Cochrane Crunch) corralled a loose puck at the top of the crease then cut right and snapped his shot over a sprawled DeBrouwer to make it 2-0.
CCHL Robinson answered that moments later however as Tanner Spink (Cornwall Colts) tapped in a cross-ice pass between the legs of Garrett Forrest (Powassan Voodoos) at 13:49.
Using a two, 20-minute period format for all games at the event, the CCHLers came out quickly in the second stanza scoring just 14 seconds into the session as Jason Tackett (Kemptville 73s) wired his attempt from the left face-off circle past Forrest.
The NOJHL had a good chance to go back in front four minutes into the final frame but a two-on-one with Soo Thunderbirds forwards Brett Jeffries and Darian Pilon was denied.
CCHL Robinson took advantage of a man advantage opportunity to take their first lead and go in front for good midway the final session as Folkes’ fine individual effort saw him drive down the left side, power his way in front and tuck in his attempt into the open right side against a falling Forrest.
Team NOJHL would pull their netminder with 1:21 to go in favour of an extra attacker and had a couple of chances to knot the affair, but the CCHL side held on for the victory.
Unofficial shots on goal were 16-14 in favour of the winners.
Team NOJHL returns to the ice Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as they take on OJHL Nieuwendyk back in Cornwall.