Photos: Allyson Demers
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – A Cooper Bowman marker in the final minute of regulation was the decider as the French River Rapids outscored the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 8-7 in a goal-filled Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair Wednesday at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
Kirkland Lake got off to a good start, notching the night’s opening tally just over two minutes into the match-up thanks to Eric de Repentigny who made a nice deke from close range and tucked it past the pad of French River netminder Justin Dilauro.
Countering midway through the first period, the Rapids’ Spencer Borg tied it on a play that was ruled a goal after the puck appeared to have made contact with a skate.
Retaking the lead four minutes later, Nicklas Albrecht collected his team-leading 24th as a feed in front by Camille Marcoux hit him and deflected into the back of the net.
Collecting the equalizer before the first intermission, French River’s Dominik Godin picked his club-best 29th marker as a strange bounce off the end boards helped Levi Siau set him up to deposit it into the open side.
Moving to the middle stanza, the Rapids struck quickly with Josh Russell getting credit just 31 seconds into the session.
A third Gold Miners’ marker came via the power play as Christian Genova converted at 4:06 by darting out from below the goal line and used his reach to stuff one past Dilauro.
Then while down a skater, Jacob Hiltz darted down the left, then drove to the middle and snapped in his seventh of the year.
Still shorthanded, Kirkland Lake tacked on another with de Repentigny finishing off a quick give-and-go with Alex McDonald.
Opting to make a goaltending change after that, Cole Sheffield entered for the Rapids.
A third-straight special teams’ effort came at 10:55, however it was the visitors’ Griffin Simpson who provided it as he scored on the power play by making no mistake while at the top of the crease.
A 10th tally on the night saw Godin smartly pick the corner with a wrist shot from the left circle, which was his 30th goal of the season.
It was more of the same in the third as Lucas Renzoni put the Gold Miners back into the lead as he moved in from the right point and wired one short side on Sheffield at 4:43.
The nets continued to get filled from there as Godin scored once more to make it 6-6 with his third of the evening by banking one in from the right side.
A seventh French River goal came after a turnover and resulted in Jackson Doyle deflecting in his first NOJHL tally at 12:47 past netminder Keaton Lyons.
Kirkland Lake then countered with their seventh moments later with Hiltz snapping in his second while converting from between the hash marks.
However, in the final minute, Bowman snapped in the game-winner with 31 seconds remaining after a late penalty had expired as he took a Chase Lefebvre pass then finished it off with the difference maker from close range to cap off the multi-tally night.