VIDEO / GALLERY: Chitaroni hat trick helps Cubs roll past Rapids

PHOTOS: Caleigh Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography

SUDBURY, Ont. – The unbeaten Greater Sudbury Cubs rode the strength of four-goal first period goals and a Hudson Chitaroni hat trick as part of a 9-3 victory over the French River Rapids Thursday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

Nolan Newton began the early outburst for the home side after being fed a Cameron Shanks pass in the neutral zone, then darted into French River territory and following a couple of quick moves, whipped a shot under the glove of netminder Elijah Grant from between the hash marks.

Going to the power play a couple of shifts later, Marshall McCharles made it 2-0 just past the eight-minute mark after taking a feed from Newton then powered hard to the net where he took the play cross-crease and tucked it past the pad of Grant.

A goaltending change saw Brady Dyer enter the match-up for the visitors, but the Cubs tacked on two more markers in the latter stages of the session to go up by four, after one.

Hudson Chitaroni notched the third Greater Sudbury tally by neatly redirecting a sharp Benjamin Lacroix back pass at 16:26.

Lucas Antonioni’s initial NOJHL goal made it 4-0 as he found himself free and at the top of the crease and finished off a quick shot.

Moving to the middle stanza, the hosts tacked on another quickly when Chitaroni tipped in a McCharles effort that changed direction enough to elude Dyer.

Special teams helped the Rapids get on the board, nearly four and a half minutes into the session, as Nolan Masson’s first in league play saw him beat Cubs’ starter Noah Beaulne as he slowly moved into the offensive zone, and later stuffed in a long give-and-go with teammate Brandon Melsness.

Going back up by five, Greater Sudbury’s Brady Bouchard bagged his opening NOJHL effort by finishing off a feed through the crease by Newton and lifting it in from a sharp angle.

Collecting his initial league hat trick, Chitaroni made it 7-1 at 13:31 as he darted around the net, stopped briefly before cruising into the slot and burying a well-placed wrist shot.

French River got one back before the second intermission, striking shorthanded in the waning moments, after Kai Clayton swiped the puck off a falling defender and eased in alone on a two-man break and dropped a pass back to Matthew Shulist, who made no mistake from close range.

In the third, Grant returned to the Rapids net and saw the hosts pick-up a man-down effort when Shanks snagged a turnover and went in with a nice move before snapping one in at 7:24.

Trading markers deep in regulation, Antonioni completed a goal-mouth scramble into the open side before French River’s Cameron Jansa whipped a shot upstairs from the left face off dot wrap-up the night’s scoring.

With the outcome, the unbeaten Cubs, who pace the NOJHL in goals scored with 33, improved to 5-0 on the season while the Rapids slipped to 0-5.

“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel