Photos: Jeremy Seguin
FRENCH RIVER – A solid home ice effort Saturday saw the French River Rapids register their first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League win of the season as they defeated the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4-1 at Noelville Arena.
French River notched the night’s initial marker 12 and a half minutes into the proceedings, while in transition in the neutral zone, as Chase Thompson put a quick pass up to a streaking Josh Russell, who darted over the blueline and whistled a shot through Kirkland Lake goalkeeper John Lloyd.
Carrying their 1-0 lead into the second period, the Rapids went up by a pair at 13:33 when Jordan Bax knocked down a Gold Miners’ attempt with his stick then zipped down the ice on a breakaway where he snapped a quick shot past Lloyd to extend the home side’s cushion.
Still up by two entering the final frame, French River got some insurance with 1:12 to go on Adam Boucher’s long-range empty netter from deep in his own territory.
Still battling though, Kirkland Lake dashed Kaleb Papineau’s bid for his first NOJHL shutout 56 seconds remaining as Luke Hill chipped in his initial league marker with a backhand from the top of the crease during a goal-mouth scramble.
Capping off the win was Russell as he rounded out the night’s scoring in the final moments with another empty-net effort.