CORNWALL, Ont. – Ryan Mooney (Rayside-Balfour Canadians) tallied twice to help lead Team Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League to a 5-2 victory over Ontario Junior Hockey League Nieuwendyk Tuesday in Day 2 action at Eastern Canada Cup Jr. A Challenge in Cornwall.
The NOJHL all-stars got on the board first seven minutes into the contest as Mooney cruised in between the top of the circles and took a feed Rayside-Balfour teammate Bradley Chenier and wired one past OJHL netminder Daniel Urbani (Trenton Golden Hawks).
Mooney then struck again with five and a half minutes remaining in the opening frame as he snapped one high past Urbani with Darian Pilon and Brett Jeffries of the Soo Thunderbirds drawing assists.
OJHL Nieuwendyk countered to answer Mooney’s second tally as they broke out on a quick three-on-one with Lucas Brown (Trenton Golden Hawks) sliding a low shot under the outstretched pad of NOJHL goaltender Garrett Forrest (Powassan Voodoos).
Striking fast in the second of two periods in the game, Jaren Bellini (Soo Thunderbirds) put the NOJHL up a pair 26 seconds into the stanza as his shot, off a pass from Hunter Atchison (Cochrane Crunch), went high over Urbani for the eventual game-winner.
Zach Evancho (Buffalo Jr. Sabres) pulled the OJHL side to within one midway through the final frame as he wristed one from near the blueline that eluded Forrest.
Jeffries added some insurance however for the NOJHL with under four minutes to go as he was sent in on a partial break and made no mistake backhanding a shot into the back of the net.
Then in the late-going OJHL Nieuwendyk, with a power play, pulled their goaltender in favour of an extra attacker, but Atchison sealed the victory as he lofted a shot from deep in his own territory into the open net with 16 seconds left to round out the scoring.
Forrest made 20 saves to register the win for the NOJHL with Urbani facing 23 attempts in defeat for OJHL Nieuwendyk.
Team NOJHL now advances to quarter-final play Wednesday against a yet to be determined opponent with the start time also yet to be decided.