Photos: Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – A crafty no-look deflection goal by Blind River Beavers’ blueliner Ethan Pegg, 29 seconds into overtime, lifted his side to a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Greater Sudbury Cubs Thursday night in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Surging Blind River needed just over three minutes to open the night’s scoring as Josh Tomasi took an Evan Fraccaro pass and labelled a wrist shot from the left circle that flew over the glove of Greater Sudbury starter, Nathaniel Boyes.
The Cubs had a tremendous chance to draw level late in the first period as Cameron Walker darted down the ice on a shorthanded breakaway, only to be stymied by the right pad of Beavers’ netminder Gavin Disano, as well as his blocker on a subsequent opportunity, moments later.
Moving to the middle stanza, and after Blind River rang one off the cross bar, Greater Sudbury drew level three and a half minutes in.
It happened on a play begun with a nice power move and pass by Cole Crowder to the high slot where defenceman Carson Crane cruised in and neatly picked the bottom left corner on Disano for his initial NOJHL tally.
Some sustained pressure by the Cubs deep into the session helped them take the lead off a goal-mouth scramble that saw Crowder jam one through the legs of the Beavers’ goalkeeper at 18:42.
Action in the third saw Blind River tie things up with under nine minutes remaining in regulation off a rush along the boards where Trevor Zimmer put an attempt on net from a sharp angle during a man advantage that clipped off the stick of a Greater Sudbury defenceman and knuckled over the shoulder of Boyes.
The tenacious, hard-fought affair, featuring the top two teams in the NOJHL standings, did not disappoint through 60 minutes of play as play continued into extra time.
In OT, the visitors won it early off a measured rush up the right side where Joshua Thompson moved it to Michael Gallagher, who in turn put an attempt towards the net where Pegg had joined the play through the back door and cleverly redirected in the game-winner while spinning at the top of the crease.
The result saw the Beavers their eighth contest in succession as they improved to a NOJHL-best 10-1-0-0 on the season.
Earning a point in the setback the second-place Cubs record went to 8-2-2-0 overall.