HEARST, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners built up an early three-goal lead but eventually needed overtime to get past the Hearst Lumberjacks 5-4 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division match-up Sunday at Claude Larose Arena.
The Gold Miners struck quickly to get off to quick start in the contest as Garett Gietuga notched his first career NOJHL tally just 24 seconds after the opening face-off.
Kirkland Lake kept coming and added another just over two minutes later while shorthanded as Sam Ellwood picked up his fifth of the campaign, which also spelled an early end to Heart starter Nicholas Dube’s day in favour of back-up Matt Kustra.
Going on the power play, the visitors then made it 3-0 at 6:47 with Declan Carter upping the cushion to three.
Hearst did regroup after that though as they countered 53 seconds later thanks to Bradley Golant’s 13th goal of the season to narrow the deficit by one.
Continuing to battle back, the Lumberjacks added another before the first period came to a close as Samuel Bourdages supplied his 12th at 18:18 to make it 3-2 after one.
Action in the middle stanza however saw Ellwood add his second of day midway through the frame to put the Gold Miners back up by a pair through 40 minutes of play.
In the third, Hearst rallied once more to force extra time thanks to a Max Johnson man advantage effort at 3:55 before Golant’s second of the game and team-leading 14th with 7:11 remaining in regulation helped the home side send it to OT.
There however the Gold Miners would eventually prevail thanks to Tyler Fyfe’s NOJHL-best 24th goal of the season at 1:45 to give his team the victory.
Marshal Nikitin dished out two assists to help the Kirkland Lake cause while Spencer Silver had a pair of helpers for the Lumberjacks.
Ryan Winter picked up the win for the Gold Miners, making 28 saves along the way, helping them improve to 16-12-4-2 overall.
Kustra suffered the setback in lengthy relief for Hearst, who fell to 12-14-2-0 as he had 23 stops on 26 attempts.
Dube saw three shots in his brief stint in net.
Photos courtesy of Jimmy Cote Photography