Photos: Allyson Demers
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners finished strong by notching the night’s final four goals as they skated to a 6-3 decision over the visiting Cochrane Crunch in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at Joe Mavrinac community complex.
The two teams came out clicking offensively with five goals in the opening 10 minutes of the contest, including three by the Crunch.
Cochrane did score first with a Ryan Eckliff tally at 1:54 as he beat Gold Miners’ goaltender Ethan Barron after being set-up from behind the net by Alex Dionne.
Countering, the home side responded with newcomer Jake King connecting in his NOJHL debut by banging in a shot in from the right of Crunch starter Marcus Ouellet, on a delayed penalty.
Kirkland Lake then took the lead a couple of shifts later compliments of Andronique Stepnanian, who whipped in a quick one-timer off a cross-crease feed off the stick of Benjamin Armatage.
Answering back, Nathan MacDonald of the Crunch tallied twice in 27 seconds to give his side a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.
His initial effort saw him bury one from between the hash marks at even strength, then click on the power play for his next one, from a similar location on the ice.
Coming back in middle session, it was the Gold Miners turn to retake the lead as Charlie Fowler’s initial league goal tied it, then Luca Maiuri made it 4-3.
Fowler’s marker saw him drive to the net from the side boards and lift one high blocker side for an impressive marker, while Maiuri lifted in a backhand from the right of Ouellet.
Putting the game away in the third, Kirkland Lake tacked on two to secure the win.
John-Paul Scaringi clicked at 6:49, while his side was up a skater, as he moved in from the point and sent a shot from the top of the right circle past a screened Ouellet.
The Gold Miners then secure the result off the stick of Nikolas Joniec at even strength a couple of shirts later when he fired in a low attempt from the left side.
With the outcome, Kirkland Lake moves closer in the three-team race for the fourth and final East Division playoff spot with Cochrane and the French River Rapids.