GALLERY: Powassan powers past French River for 9th straight win


POWASSAN, Ont. – The red-hot Powassan Voodoos put up big numbers offensively Friday night to win their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in a row by swamping the French River Rapids 9-2 at the Powassan Sportsplex.

An early man advantage helped French River to strike first in the contest as Maksim Tugolukov whipped in a rebound from the slot into the open side off an initial attempt on net by Matthew Hill just 1:43 in.

Powassan took total control though in the back half of the period as they scored six times, in a just over an eight and half minute span, to make sure they would keep their winning streak in tact.

Rhys Smetham began the outburst as he won a puck battle off a dump out of his zone and buried a blocker side shot for his 11th of the season in beating Rapids’ starter Ben Gustafson.

Moments later the Voodoos took the lead for good as Alex Little roofed one off an odd-man rush.

The home side’s power play then went to work at 12:39 and saw Tucker Shields strike when he ripped one in from the right hash mark and ran a consecutive game point streak to eight in succession.

Maintaining the pressure, Little bagged another at the 18-minute mark as he pinched in from point and snapped in a one-timer.

Then 51 seconds later, Carson Ricci converted from the left circle before Thomas Gazich capped off the offensive barrage as he finished off some crisp puck movement with a late man advantage effort.

With back-up Brady Dyer entering to play net for French River to begin the second stanza, the Rapids got one back early thanks to a Jack Ginocchi shorthanded goal at 1:14 as he pushed a play between the legs of goalkeeper Daniel Dirracolo off a shot that hit off the end boards and found its way in front.

However, Powassan roared back with three more tallies to go up by seven after 40 minutes.

A Nicholas Liotino wrister from the left point made it 7-2 Voodoos as his first league marker came on a five-on-three power play.

The home club then tacked on another at 10:43 with Liam Serviss burying a rebound from the slot off a pad stop by Dyer from a Nathan McDonald effort.

A fourth man advantage marker for Powassan made it 9-2 with Conor O’Brien getting into the scoring parade as he cruised in from the right side and ripped one high blocker side in the final minute of the frame.

In the third, the Voodoos knew they had enough to win and held firm defensively to secure the home ice triumph and keep their winning ways in tact.