Gold Miners, Bobcats and Thunderbirds all victorious on home ice


Release Date: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
Gold Miners, Bobcats and Thunderbirds all victorious on home ice

SUDBURY – The first Friday night in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s 2013-14 regular season saw each of the three respective host teams send their fans away happy by winning their home openers.

KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS 8 ESPANOLA RIVERMEN 3 – Mathieu Lecompte notched a hat-trick and tacked on an assist as Kirkland Lake rallied to win going away over Espanola.

It was a dream start for the Rivermen in their NOJHL debut as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play thanks to tallies from Brandon Janke and Byron Sam just 27 seconds apart midway through the session.

The second stanza was a different story however with the Gold Miners answering back with four goals of their own to go up a pair after 40 minutes.

Lecompte had two of those efforts while Jake Zarzycki and Alex Hulford added in singles.

It was more of the same in the final frame with Kirkland Lake finding the back of the net four more times on power play markers from Steven Babin, Ethan Strong and Lecompte with Kyle Bishop supplying an even strength effort.

Duane Wainman, on the man advantage, accounted for Espanola’s final goal of the night.

Jeremy Picard-Fiset also chipped in for the Miners dishing out a trio of assists in the come from behind victory that saw Hulford add a pair of helpers along with his tally for a three-point night.

Marc Audet was the winning goaltender facing 19 shots for the Gold Miners.

Griffin Strain was saddled with the loss for the Rivermen seeing 33 attempts fired his way in defeat.

SOO THUNDERBIRDS 6 NORTH BAY TRAPPERS 3 – At Essar Centre, Sault Ste. Marie grabbed an early lead and never trailed en route to the triumph over the visiting Trappers.

Jaren Bellini struck two minutes after the opening face-off for the Thunderbirds in what would be the only goal of the first period.

After Ryan Demyen tied it for North Bay five minutes into the second the T-Birds struck three times before the middle stanza was complete as Anthony Burorac, Gavin Burbach and Anthony Miller all beat Trappers’ starter Dustin Hummel to put the home side in control.

The teams then traded two tallies apiece in the third to round out the night’s scoring with Burbach and Derek Battagin connecting for the Soo while Zach Turner and Ryan Demyen, with his second of the evening, countered for North Bay.

Joel Horodziejczyk made 18 stops in securing the win for the Thunderbirds and Hummel had 31 stops in defeat for the Trappers.

ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 7 BLIND RIVER BEAVERS 3 – It was a memorable NOJHL debut for Elliot Lake’s Andrew Palushaj as he scored three times, including netting the game-winner, helping the Bobcats top Blind River at Centennial Arena.

Blind River was quick to open the night’s scoring as recently named Beavers’ team captain Samuel Wilbur potted his first of the season just 3:16 in.

Special teams allowed the Bobcats to pull level midway through the opening session as Dustin Cordeiro beat Dylan Knox on the power play to tie things up while Palushaj gave them the lead for good at 14:07.

The home side grabbed a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes sandwiching efforts from Dustin Cordeiro and Palushaj around a Samuel Wilbur effort.

Elliot Lake extended their cushion to 5-2 through two periods with captain Kyle Rowe, Palushaj and Aviv Milner connecting for the Bobcats while Tyler Shanush picked up his first of the campaign for the Beavers.

Tyson MacLeod pulled the visitors to within two five minutes into the final frame, but Brad Holman and Palushaj finished things off to secure the victory.

Max Glashauser made a big impression with his new team as did Brett Wagner as the duo dished out four and three assists respectively in the win.

Etienne Roy made 26 saves in earning the win for Elliot who fired 57 pucks on Knox in the Blind River net.

NOJHL play resumes Saturday as Espanola continues their season-opening road swing in Iroquois Falls vs. Abitibi, the Gold Miners entertain visiting Sudbury while the Beavers and Bobcats finish off a home-and-home in Blind River. All three contests feature a 7:30 p.m. face-off.