Nikitin’s 3-point effort helps Kirkland Lake slip past Blind River

KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners picked up a pair of goals, including the game-winner, from Marshal Nikitin to help them slip past the Blind River Beavers 3-2 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Friday at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.

Converting on a advantage opportunity in the first period allowed the Gold Miners to strike midway through the opening frame as Tyler Fyfe fired in his fourth of the season. Assisting on the marker were Nikitin and Gabriel Rheault with the latter running a point streak to six with the helper.

It stayed that way until 14:16 of the middle stanza when Blind River struck shorthanded for the equalizer thanks to Max MacNaull’s first NOJHL goal.

A flurry of activity in the final minute of the second period saw each team pick-up markers as the Beavers’ Caleb Serre supplied his eighth of the season at 19:28 only to see the Gold Miners’ Nikitin connect just 10 seconds later to knot the affair at 2-2 after two.

Nikitin then added his third point of the night 45 seconds into the third as he finished off the work of Fyfe and Rheault during an early power play to provide the deciding tally on the night.

Fyfe and Rheault both chipped in with two assists with the Kirkland Lake trio combining for eight points in the victory.

Cade McEwen picked up the decision for the Gold Miners making 31 stops overall while Blind River’s Garret Boyonoski made 28 saves in a losing cause for the Beavers.