PHOTOS: Caleigh Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – The Espanola Paper Kings proved to be opportunistic when given the chance, and also rode the solid goaltending of Jake Marois, to crown the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League-leading Greater Sudbury Cubs 7-2 Thursday evening at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Espanola gained the early advantage in this one after forcing a turnover deep in Greater Sudbury territory and opened the scoring before the match-up was three minutes in.
On the play, Spencer Horgan put a shot towards the net from the right point that was neatly redirected in by Lucas Signoretti, parked in front of Cubs’ goaltender Noah Metivier, for his team-leading 22nd tally.
Building on that, the Paper Kings tacked on another at 4:45, thanks to another solid forecheck provided by the visitors and resulted in an open Graydon Guthrie putting an attempt through Metivier to make it 2-0.
Capitalizing on the evening’s initial power play helped the home side get right back in it as they kept a play in the Espanola end and saw Nicholas Toffoli dish a cross-ice feed over to Samuel Assinewai, who made a quick deke and tucked in his 10th marker of the campaign.
Getting that back while up a skater themselves, Cayden Kowal tipped in a shot by Signoretti who had wheeled around the net and circled his way to the high-slot where his spinning wrister was deflected past Metivier, who in turn was then replaced by Cubs’ back-up Noah Beaulne after the goal.
Moving to the middle stanza, moments after the Paper Kings were thwarted on a power play chance, they answered with a goal just after it expired however when Jonathan Lush won a race on a dump-in and set-up Conor Walton between the hashmarks where he picked the bottom corner on Beaulne to make it 4-1 with still over a half a game to play.
Espanola kept it going to begin the third and saw Signoretti snap one blocker side in the first minute to complete a give-and-go with Lush.
Getting one back off a draw following the mid-period break, Greater Sudbury’s Miguel Renaud picked the left corner on Marois to bring the hosts to within three.
The Paper Kings countered that though on a five-on-three with Signoretti teeing up Kyle den Ouden in close, who ripped in a close-range attempt to secure the result.
Finishing off the one-sided scoreline, Horgan put one upstairs through a screen for another extra-man effort in the final couple of minutes to cap-off the scoring.
With the result, Espanola won for a 21st time this season while going 21-16-2-2.
The loss meanwhile sent the Cubs overall record to 35-7-2-0.