GALLERY: Rapids surprise Voodoos


POWASSAN, Ont. – A determined French River Rapids side got two goals from Connor Picard and a solid performance from goaltender Brady Dyer to help them upend the Powassan Voodoos 4-2 Wednesday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at the Powassan Sportsplex.

With the teams trading chances throughout, French River began the night’s scoring, midway through the first period, as Picard broke free and dashed down the right wing before making a couple of crafty dekes and lifting it past Powassan starter Daniel Dirracolo on a shorthanded effort.

Drawing even in the final minute of the frame, the Voodoos countered in transition and saw Alex Little drive hard down the ice before sending a feed over to a hard-charging Tucker Shields, who steered in his team-leading 14th of the season.

In the second stanza, the Rapids regained the lead off a solid forecheck that resulted in Joshua McKay sending a rising attempt from the left point that clipped off Matthew Hill situated in front and went by a screened Dirracolo.

Making it 3-1 a couple of minutes into the third, Picard went in alone again off a two-on-one where he made a few of the same moves as his initial effort and was similarly rewarded with his second tally of the night.

Getting their goaltender out for an extra attacker with over five minutes remaining in regulation, Powassan pressed hard to pull closer.

They did make it 3-2 with 1:25 remaining as Rhys Smetham stuffed in a loose puck off a Mitch Wilkie wrist shot from just inside the blueline on the side boards that Dyer could not corral with his glove.

With Dirracolo back on the bench once more for the added skater, the Voodoos tried to tie it and send it to overtime, but French River’s Josh Russell spun in his own zone and sent a shot along the ice all the way into the empty net to secure the road victory.

That helped Russell pick-up a point in each of his past six contests.

The result also saw the Rapids put an end to a 14-game winless drought as they improved to 5-25-0-1 on the season while the Voodoos dropped to 20-9-0-1.