KIRKLAND LAKE - The road wasn’t kind to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners as the defending NOJHL champions found themselves blown out in two out of three games.
Arch-rival Soo Thunderbirds extracted some revenge for their loss in last year’s league finals with a 7-1 beat down of the Gold Miners Sunday afternoon.
The Soo skated out to a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game, and potted four more in the second period to seal the victory. The teams traded goals in the third with Luke Sores spoiling the Soo shutout.
K.L.’s lone bright light on the weekend was Saturday’s 7-3 drubbing of the winless Blind River Beavers 7-3. Kirkland Lake grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period with goals by Jeremy Picard-Fiset and Steven Babin.
Babin’s second of the evening six minutes into the second made it 3-0 while a Ethan Strong powerplay goal soon after made it 4-0
Blind River battled back with two goals, only to see Strong connect once again on the power play to put Kirkland Lake up 5-2 through 40 minutes.
Tyler Romain then added two more goals to pad Kirkland Lake’s lead before Blind River got one pack with just under three minutes left on the clock.
Defenceman Picard-Fiset finished finished the night with one goal and three assists.
Debastos made 28 saves to secure the win for Kirkland Lake, who fired 42 shots on Blind River netminder Zachary Mills.
Kirkland Lake opened the road weekend on a tough note, getting mauled by the Elliot Lake Wildcats 6-2 on Friday.
The home team jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the opening period with a pair of goals 30 seconds apart, ending Kirkland Lake goaltender Kenny Fitzgerald’s night early. His replacement, Devon Debastos, was promptly greeted by another Elliot Lake outburst to put the Wildcats up by four.
Elliot Lake continued to roll in the second period with two more goals for a 6-0 lead before Ryan Swain got Kirkland Lake on the scoreboard.
Joel Fortin added another for the Gold Miners with seven minutes remaining in the third to round out the scoring.
The win was the sixth straight for the Wildcats, and temporarily gave them the league’s best winning percentage until dropping a 4-2 contest to the Soo Thunderbirds on Saturday.
The 7-3 Gold Miners return to action Friday, traveling to Cochrane for the first in a weekend home-and home tilt with the division-leading Crunch.