KIRKLAND LAKE - The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners had a great weekend as they garnered an important three points.
On Friday evening at The Joe the club took on the underrated Blind River Beavers and came away with a rare double-overtime 1-1 tie.
The Miners opened the scoring just over three minutes into the first period when Jordan Briand tipped a Wes Chambers shot behind the Blind River goalie and the locals had the 1-0 lead.
It was a very even affair throughout the period with neither side getting many shots on goal.
But the Beavers would respond nine minutes later and it was tied at 1-1.
The rest of the contest saw both teams get their chances but neither could find the range and it was off to overtime where again nothing was decided. Round two of overtime came and went without a winner so under the league’s new rules the game stayed tied and each club collected a point.
After the contest Miners’ Head Coach Marc Lafleur stated Blind River is a good club and no one should think otherwise, despite their record.
“People don’t realize how good Blind River is. They have three solid lines. They have (a great team) offensively.”
On Saturday night the Miners came back from an early 2-0 deficit to take down the North Bay Trappers by a score of 5-2.
The Miners got out of the gates slowly only getting two shots on net in the first period.
The Trappers themselves only were able to get seven shots on the Kirkland Lake net but two would find the range.
The first came just over eight minutes in, while the second one, a deflected shot that goalie Chris Komma had no chance on was scored with less than a minute left in the period.
The second period was a much different story as the Miners jumped on their opponents early.
Just under seven minutes in, Jeremy Picard-Fiset blasted a shot past North Bay goalie Dustin Hummel and it was now a 2-1 game.
Then came the key moment of the contest. While down two-men, Tanner Lafrance fired a shot on goal and the puck just tipped the North Bay goalie’s glove bounced behind him and trickled into the net. All of a sudden it was 2-2 and the Miners were back in it.
Coach Lafleur said the play was an absolute momentum changer.
“The goal was a big one but (also) killing it off. It was a five-on-three for about a minute 30 so we did a great job there. I think that was the key moment in the game.”
In the third period the Miners continued to pour on the juice.
Joey Ftoma scored on a shot seven minutes into the frame to get the eventual winner. Then two minutes later Ethan Strong made it a 4-2 game after getting one on the power play.
Royce King finished things off with a power play marker of his own to seal the 5-2 victory.
Coach Lafleur called it a “great win” and said it was a great weekend.
“Three out of four points. It was a great gut check this weekend after what happened in Sudbury. Our (M.O.) is defence and forcing the other team to create their offensive chances. That wasn’t the case the past couple of games before this weekend. Three goals (given up) versus high octane teams, including two bad bounces tonight (is great).
Lafleur added the team opened up in the second period and made some adjustments. He added that because North Bay is so good that some of their players may have taken their feet off the pedal.
“With momentum once you lose it, its extremely tough to get it back.”
He also stated getting offence from the defence is also important.
“We need to be better offensively and score more goals and the only way you can do that is if you involve all five guys in the offence. Essentially if you don’t involve your D-men you are playing three on five in the d-zone (and) you are not going to score many goals.”
The club is now preparing for a three game western road trip starting on Friday. They play Elliot Lake, Blind River and then wrap up the trip against the Soo.