PHOTOS: Caleigh Fera – Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – A Lucas Signoretti man-down marker 50 seconds into overtime helped the Espanola Paper Kings survive a late Greater Sudbury Cubs surge and prevail 6-5 Thursday to commence the 2024 portion of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League schedule at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
An earlier shorthanded effort, deep into the first period, saw Espanola open the scoring after Signoretti forced a turnover that allowed Owen Fergusson to swoop in and fire a blocker side shot past Greater Sudbury starter Noah Metivier at 16:04.
The tally also aided in Fergusson extending a consecutive game point streak to 10, while etching his name on the game sheet for the 16th time in his past 17 outings.
Moving to the middle stanza, the visiting Paper Kings went up by a pair after Signoretti went into the Cubs zone and sent a backhand to the top of the crease where an unmarked Grant Booth snagged it, cut to his left, and stuffed the puck past the outstretched pad of Metiver, just over six minutes in.
Espanola then came right back and go ahead by three after capitalizing on a power play with Graydon Guthrie tipping in a Signoretti shot that came from up top.
A fourth Paper Kings marker saw Fergusson send a feed into the slot that eluded a home side skater, which allowed Blake Peters-Davey to whip it into the top right hand corner at 13:25.
The tally also resulted in Greater Sudbury making a goaltending change as back-up Noah Beaulne entered the proceedings.
Cutting into the deficit prior to the second intermission, the Cubs’ Oliver Smith turned near the end boards and put a pass out to Ryan Rubic, who quickly snapped it past Espanola’s Jake Marois.
The helper gives Smith points in nine straight.
Heading to the third period, a Cayden Kowal marker appeared to send the guests seemingly on their way to a comfortable road victory as he banged in a shot off the post, after a giveaway.
Getting one back at 11:26, Greater Sudbury’s Samuel Assinewai put a shot off Smith’s skate and in to pull the hosts to within three.
Not done there, the Cubs countered with two more to get to within one.
Smith came in on the left wing and fired one through the legs of Marois at 13:17 before Ben Harris slammed in a rebound off a Josh Kavanagh attempt, moments into a man advantage, with still over four minutes remaining in regulation.
Getting their goalie out for an additional skater, the home side tied it at 17:36 as they kept a play in the Espanola end, which eventually led Harris to banking in the equalizer, from behind the goal line, off a sprawled Marois.
Down a skater heading into OT, Signoretti made a nice move in the neutral zone, they turned up ice and drove into Cubs territory where he moved through a trio of defenders lifted in a rising backhand for the game-winner and salvage the away triumph.
After the goal, a post-game melee marred the conclusion of the contest and resulted in multiple penalties being handed out, including numerous game misconducts, along with other infractions.
In the end, the final score sees the Paper Kings win for a fifth straight time, while improving to 23-13-0-0 overall.
Coming back to collect a point in defeat, the Cubs fell to 27-7-1-1 on the season.