CHELMSFORD, Ont. – A Gabinien Kioki goal four and a half minutes into the third period proved to be the game-winner as the visiting Powassan Voodoos went on to edge the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 3-2 Thursday evening at Chelmsford Arena in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League opener for both sides.
The victory means Powassan has now won each of their past five season-opening games and improved to 5-0-1 all-time in franchise history in the same category.
It didn’t take the Voodoos long to take flight in the campaign as Brett Shawana opened the scoring 1:52 into the first period.
Answering back on the power play, Rayside-Balfour drew level at 13:44 with Brady Maltais tying things up.
Up a skater early in the second stanza, the visitors regained the lead as Gregory Trudeau-Paquet notched his first with Powassan and 70th career NOJHL goal and 140th point.
Countering once more, the Canadians answered with the equalizer off the stick of Oliver Smith who tallied in his league debut at 7:26 with the help of another rookie, in Nicholas DeGrazia.
It stayed even until Kioki broke the deadlock in the third to give the Voodoos the road victory.
Eric Mondoux dished out a pair of assists to aid the Powassan offensive cause.
Making his first NOJHL start, Owen Say made 31 saves to record the win in net for the Voodoos.
Rayside-Balfour netminder David Bowen was busy, seeing 45 shots fired his way in defeat.
The two sides will finish off a home-and-home Friday in a 7 p.m. start at the Powassan Sportsplex.