Wednesday, February 24, 2021 – ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Espanola Express saw Luke Bibby tally twice to help propel them to a 4-2 victory over the French River Rapids in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Wednesday at the Regional Recreation Complex.
After storming back to pull out an amazing late comeback victory Tuesday, French River continued their momentum to commence the scoring in this one as they clicked midway through the first period.
The play began with Ryan Smith putting a backhand from behind the net in front where Levi Siau got control before snapping a shot past Espanola starter Owen Willis from the circle on the left hash marks.
Action late in the session saw the Express draw even off a Joshua Kavanaugh point shot that was eventually knocked in by Bibby from the left of the crease beating Rapids goalkeeper Cole Sheffield at 17:21.
Into the middle stanza, Espanola took the lead via the power play as Gavin Graham fed Boucher in the slot, who promptly let a low one-timer go that found its way in at 5:50.
They then added to their cushion later in the frame as a long pass allowed a pair of Espanola skaters to go in alone on a two-man break where Colton Wiacek put one on the tape of Isaac Westlake who quickly whipped the puck in to make it 3-1 at 13:32.
While facing the two-tally deficit into the final period, the Rapids clawed their was back early as Cooper Bowman banged in a rebound from the left side off a Brendon Hass attempt from the point.
French River would pull Sheffield late for an extra attacker, but Bibby buried one from deep in his own territory as he found the empty net from long range with a minute left to help secure the home ice triumph.
Shots on goal finished up 38-36 in favour of the Express with Willis collecting the win while Sheffield suffered the narrow setback.
The clubs are scheduled to meet again Friday at 7 p.m. back in Espanola and on HockeyTV.com.