Opening week in the NOJHL

Randy Russon
September 9, 2019

A goaltenders duel that finally ended via shootout with the Rayside Balfour Canadians scoring a dramatic 1-0 win over the visiting Soo Eagles was a highlight of opening week action in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

It was Rayside Balfour forward Jett Leishman who scored in the seventh round of the shootout to give the Canadians the thrilling 1-0 victory over the Eagles. (see photo above for Leishman’s shootout winner.)

Both goalies were outstanding in the contest that included 60 minutes of regulation time and a five-minute overtime frame before the shootout showdown ended the match.

David Bowen made 37 saves for Rayside Balfour and Shane Brancato turned aside 44 shots for the Michigan Soo. Both goalies get credit for a shutout.

The win was the first of the young season for the Canadians, who had lost their first two games, both to the Powassan Voodoos.


Cochrane Crunch, Blind River Beavers and Soo Thunderbirds all came away from opening week action with 2-0 records.

Meanwhile, Blind River captain Caleb Serre has taken the early-season scoring lead with three goals, four assists, seven points in two games.

Cochrane rookie Matthew Minichiello also has seven points, including one goal.

Mark Burgess, the new owner of the Rayside Balfour Canadians, drops the ceremonial first puck prior’s to his team’s 2019-2020 regular season opener against the visiting Powassan Voodoos at Chelmsford Arena.

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