Flying out to a fast start with five first period goals helped send the Powassan Voodoos on their way to an eventual 6-3 victory over the Espanola Paper Kings Saturday night in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at the Powassan Sportsplex.
A rapid response saw the Voodoos take flight 95 seconds into the contest when Carson Ricci led a rush into the Espanola zone then eventually swatted in a loose puck with one hand on his stick into the open corner on Paper Kings’ netminder Andrew Gaulton.
Powassan then extended their early edge a couple of shifts later when Rhys Smetham slid in a close-range backhand at 3:53.
Answering with a man advantage marker, Spencer Horgan’s snap shot from the top of the circles beat Voodoos’ starter Kannon Flageolle glove side.
After a Flageolle save on a shorthanded breakaway, the home side countered with Kaedyn Long roofing a cross-ice pass from Conor O’Brien on the power play.
Not done there, Powassan buried two more to make it 5-1 thanks to Tucker Shields going five hole before teammate Jack Kelly jumped into the rush and sped down the ice on a two-on-one and buried one blocker side on Gaulton.
It also saw Espanola make a goaltending change as Creedon Dyck came in and went the rest of the way.
Moving to the middle stanza, a two-man advantage allowed the Voodoos plenty of space to move the play around before they eventually set-up Alex Little between the circles where he whipped in his 21st of the year to make it 6-1.
Getting two back in the final frame, the Paper Kings looked to make a game of it, beginning with Horgan’s second of the night with 12 minutes to go as he pinched in from the point on a delayed penalty, then lifted a rising attempt into the upper portion of the net.
They then saw Alexander Christopoulos convert in the late going to round out the scoring by banging in a loose puck while a plethora of players battled in front.
The outcome sees playoff-bound Powassan wrap up their regular season with a record of 37-20-1-0, while in defeat, Espanola, who is also heading to the postseason, finishes up at 29-24-2-3.
The Voodoos finish in third spot in the NOJHL East and face the Hearst Lumberjacks for the third time since 2018 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Here's post game reaction from head coach Peter Goulet courtesy The Frontline Podcast: