ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats stormed back from a four-goal deficit and supplied five unanswered tallies to pull out their first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory of the season, a 5-4 come from behind triumph over the Espanola Express Friday at the Regional Recreation Complex.
Espanola got on track in the latter stages of the first period when they scored twice on markers from Bradley Brunet and Robert Brisson, less than two minutes apart, to go up by a pair.
The second stanza saw the Express build on their momentum as defenceman Matais Salem struck for his fifth marker of the campaign and with an earlier assist produced his sixth multi-point game of the season.
It was more Espanola, five minutes into the session as Zachary Matyasik extended the home side’s lead to four.
Elliot Lake did counter less than a minute later though to get on the board on Jonathan Giancitti’s fifth goal overall.
Battling back, the Wildcats clawed their way back in it late in the second when Connor Taylor connected on the power play as he extended a consecutive game point streak to nine straight outings.
Not done there, and still up a skater, the visitors got one more compliments of Giancotti’s second of the evening.
The Elliot Lake forward then registered his initial NOJHL hat trick early in the third as he provided a shorthanded marker to knot the score.
The Wildcats kept rolling and completed the comeback at 5:47 when Eric Vanderhoff scored on the power play as he picked up his team-leading 10th tally in what proved to be the game-winner.
Special teams were pivotal in the decision with Elliot Lake scoring three times with the man advantage and once while shorthanded.
Shots on goal on the night were 39-28 in favour of Espanola with Parker Simpson picking up the win while Joel Rainville suffered the defeat.