Offensive woes in the Canadians opener
by Randy Pascal
In a game that displayed all of the classic signs of an early season matchup, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians could not overcome an offense that
misfired far more often than not, nor the two goal performance of David Dedo, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Elliot Lake Wildcats in their
NOJHL home opener in Chelmsford.
There was certainly no lack of excitement in the step of the Rayside lads at the drop of the puck, as the team dominated the first period, territorially speaking, firing 18
shots at Wildcats' netminder Allan Menary.
Unfortunately, the only goal of the opening frame came courtesy of Elliot Lake forward Taylor Bucsis, converting just three seconds into a power play opportunity to
break the ice at the 13:59 mark.
A little more of the same in period two, as the Canadians outshot the Wildcats 12-7, but see their deficit doubled as Clark Allair netted the
first goal of his NOJHL career early in the second.
Dedo would make it 3-0, ringing a shot off the post less than five minutes into the final frame before the homeside could solve Menary. Playing with the
man advantage, Rayside defenceman Dawson Garcia drifted a low shot through a maze of sticks and legs, providing momentary signs of life, until Dedo
put the encounter out at reach, completing the scoring at 15:21.
Although the game bore a clear-cut resemblance to several of the Canadian 2016-2017 matchups which would see the locals plagued by offensive woes, coach
Dave Clancy was not about to read too much into one game only.
"A lot of our guys were coming from midget hockey," he explained. "They were a little hesitant on the stick, not getting shots off quickly. Once that
comes, we'll be alright putting the puck in the net."
As for the newcomers who created an initial impression, Clancy did not mind singling out a pair of freshman forwards. "Jett Leishman is a big body
kid, seems to be able to handle himself, and I liked James White."
"I think he's going to be a big power forward in this league, once we get going." The same two teams meet again this evening, this time in Elliot Lake,
as Rayside-Balfour begins a stretch of October 5th when the Canadians play host to the Soo Thunderbirds.