Evan Nicholls stood tall — literally and figuratively — for the Timmins Majors. The 6-foot-4 goalie made several spectacular saves but the visitors from Timmins were overwhelmed by the fast-skating Soo Jr. Greyhounds in Great North Midget Hockey League action from Saturday night.
Nicholls — who played for the erstwhile Soo Minor Thunderbirds of the GNMHL as a 15-year old last season — was under constant siege during the Saturday session at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Time and time again, Soo forwards were left alone in front of the Timmins net only to be repeatedly denied by Nicholls, who put on a gallant performance in front of a crowd that included his mom, younger sister, and maternal grandparents.
But the Jr. Greyhounds were simply too much for the Majors and scored a 6-2 victory.
The Jr. Greyhounds out-chanced the Majors by a wide margin — official shots on goal are not tallied in the Great North — and could have reached double digits on the goal-scoring chart if not for the splendid work of Nicholls.
At any rate, it was Ethan Esposito who found range with two goals to lead the Soo scoring parade. Michael Chaffay, Mason Chitaroni, Gavin Ritacco and Dylan Forsyth also dented the twine for the Jr. Greyhounds.
Ritacco also added a pair of assists as did hustling forward Dylan Szabo, who, along with Forsyth, stood out in a shutdown role for the Jr. Greyhounds.
Goalie Gavin Disano got the win for the Jr. Greyhounds.
Disano was not tested that often but both goals he allowed were when Timmins was on the power play. And he did make a couple of nice saves when the score was 3-1 for the Soo.
Gavin Martel and Landon Deforge scored the Timmins goals. Deforge also had an assist and along with Nicholls and defenseman Keaston Blais, were notable performers for the Majors.
While they were deserving in victory, the Jr. Greyhounds did benefit from a partisan officiating crew.
The Soo was handed eight penalties while Timmins was whistled for 15 infractions, several of which were borderline at best.
The two teams will conclude their weekend series today at 1 p.m. at the Rhodes Centre.
SOO 4, TIMMINS 3
The two teams began the 2019-2020 Great North regular season on Friday in the Soo with the home team eking out a 4-3 overtime decision over Timmins.
Speedy, rookie forward Devin Mauro scored twice — including the winning goal early in overtime — to spark the Jr. Greyhounds to the narrow victory.
Defensemen Michael Beltrano and Connor Toms also scored for the Soo and goalie Noah Metivier picked up the win.
Pierre Racicot, Jesse Dupuis and Landon Deforge scored for Timmins, which got a nice outing between the pipes from Julien Lefebvre.
PHOTO: Timmins Majors goalie Evan Nicholls, making one of several saves in Saturday’s loss to the Soo Jr. Greyhounds. (Photo by Allana Plaunt.)