ESPANOLA, Ont. – A pair of shorthanded goals and some superb goaltending from netminder Jake Marois sent the Espanola Paper Kings on their way to a 3-1 triumph over the Greater Sudbury Cubs Sunday evening in the third game of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League West Divisional semifinal at the Regional Recreation Complex.
The win is the first of the series for the Paper Kings, who now trail the best-of-seven set 2-1, heading into Game 4 Monday night back at the Rec. Complex, which features a 7:30 start time.
Connecting early, Espanola notched a man-down marker as Jonathan Lush was sent in all alone on a breakaway, where he cut left and placed a shot over the blocker of Greater Sudbury goalkeeper Noah Metivier at 2:55.
There would be no further scoring in the period as the Paper Kings carried their lead into the first intermission.
Action in the second stanza saw the home side connect while down a skater once more as they pushed a play ahead off a draw in their own zone and saw Lucas Signoretti jam in the rebound off his own chance, prior to the midway point of the proceedings.
Adding another early in the third, Signoretti chipped one off the boards by a Greater Sudbury defender and darted down the left wing before driving hard to the net and notching his second of the evening.
Despite Marois’ heroics, the Cubs eventually solved him with under five minutes remaining in regulation when defenceman Kyloe Ellis went to the net and finished one off from the slot.
The visitors then got their goalie out, and had a late man advantage, to try and get closer, but Marois did his part to secure the decision and get his club back in the series.
NOJHL West Division semifinal
Greater Sudbury Cubs vs. Espanola Paper Kings
Game 1: Cubs 4 Paper Kings 2
Game 2: Cubs 5 Paper Kings 3
Game 3: Paper Kings 3 Cubs 1
Game 4: Monday, March 27 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 5: Thursday, March 30 @ Greater Sudbury 7:30 p.m. (T.M. Davies Arena)
Game 6*: Friday, March 31 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m. (Regional Recreation Complex)
Game 7*: Sunday, April 2 @ Greater Sudbury 2:30 p.m. (T.M. Davies Arena)
Greater Sudbury leads best-of-seven series 2-1