ESPANOLA - The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners scored the game’s first three goals and never trailed en route to a 6-2 triumph over the Espanola Rivermen Thursday in game 4 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League semifinal series at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex.
With the decision the Gold Miners take the best-of-seven set in four straight games and now advance to the NOJHL finals vs. the Soo Thunderbirds, who also finished off their semifinal series by knocking out the Abitibi Eskimos in four.
Power play markers by Austin Rust and Samuel Wilbur put Kirkland Lake up a pair while Kyle Bishop added one shorthanded to make it 3-0.
Nathan Campbell put the Rivermen on the board late in the opening stanza as he notched a man advantage marker with 10 seconds to go in the first.
The two sides exchanged efforts in the second with Steve Babin getting one for the Miners while Brandon Janke countered for Espanola.
The visitors put the game away in the third on efforts supplied by Damon MacEachern and Tanner Lafrance to finish off the scoring and the series.
Gold Miners’ defenceman Dan Morin had three assists for the winners while Jeremy Picard Fiset added a couple of helpers of his own to support the offensive cause.
Jeremy Pominville picked up the victory in net for Kirkland Lake while Marc Terriault started for Espanola and suffered the loss allowing four against before giving way to Kevin Labelle.
Meantime Darcy Haines had a goal and set-up two others to lead propel the Soo Thunderbirds to a 5-1 victory over the Abitibi Eskimos in game 4 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League semifinal series at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.
Abitibi did get off to a good start scoring the game’s opening tally just 32 seconds in as Landon Hiebert beat Soo starter Brian Kment.
The NOJHL’s leading goal-getter in the regular season, in the Thunderbirds’ Gavin Burbach, pulled his side even four minutes later notching a shorthanded marker.
The T-Birds went in front for good in the middle session getting goals from Owen Headrick and Anthony Butorac to go up 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Sault Ste. Marie then put the game away in the final frame tacking on the final two tallies of the series courtesy of Haines midway through and Anthony Miller into an empty net in the late going.
Kment made 27 saves to record the win while Brody Wagner had 33 stops in a losing cause for the Eskimos.
The game schedule for the NOJHL finals will be announced once it is finalized.