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Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018
NOJHL Canadians make the most of life on the road
by Randy Pascal

The Rayside-Balfour Canadians are still ten days or so away from playing just their second home game of the year, but life on the road for coach Dave Clancy and company has certainly not been unproductive.

The local NOJHLers took two of three on a northern road swing last weekend, improving to 3-3-0 on the season, right in the thick of a West Division race that sees the Blind River Beavers (10 pts), Elliot Lake Wildcats (8) and Soo Thunderbirds (7) showing the way.

Two goal performances by Baldino Aiello and James White combined with a 32 save effort from veteran Mackenzie Savard helped lift the Canadians to a 6-1 win over the Cochrane Crunch on Friday.

Brady Maltais and Brandon Atkins rounded out the scoring, as Rayside outshot the homeside 38-33. Some 24 hours later, it would be Savard's turn to steal a win for the road warriors, earning first star honours after turning aside 46 of 47 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks.

Aiello and Jacob Patridge both pulled the trigger in the first period for the Canadians, and only Bradley Golant would solve Savard, scoring the only goal for Hearst at 13:12 of the middle stanza.

The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners would spoil the Canadians bid for a flawless weekend, scoring three times in the second period en route to a 4-1 win. Tyler Fyfe showed the way with a two-goal outing for the winners, with solo markers courtesy of Joe Whittet and Zach Bannister, while captain Matthew Neault countered for the locals.

A much shorter trip ahead this coming weekend for the Rayside-Balfour lads, facing the winless Espanola Express Friday night and then back on Highway 17 west come Sunday afternoon for a date with the Blind River Beavers.

The Canadians play their first home outing since dropping a 4-1 decision to Elliot Lake back on September 7th a week from Thursday, welcoming the Thunderbirds to Chelmsford on October 5th at 7:00 p.m.

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