CHELMSFORD, Ont. – A Casey Gerstein marker in the final attempt of the shootout proved to be the difference as the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners earned a 2-1 decision over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians and thus put an end to their lengthy 12-game winning streak in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play Sunday evening at Chelmsford Arena.
This back and forth goaltender’s battle saw Kirkland Lake open the scoring late in the first period as Gerstein and Connor Van Weelie combined to set-up Cameron Neaylon for his 12th tally of the campaign at 18:16.
Neither side would convert offensively in the middle stanza as netminders Kyle McNair of the Gold Miners and Nicholas Heinzle of the Canadians kept opposing shooters at bay.
The score stayed 1-0 for the visitors deep into regulation when Rayside-Balfour netted the equalizer with 1:18 remaining during a power play and with Heinzle out for an extra attacker, that saw Brown tie it with a one-timer from the left side that found the open corner.
Skating three aside in overtime, the two clubs went end-to-end, trading quality chances, only to be foiled by the goalkeepers to send it to extra shots to decide a winner.
There Kyler Campbell of Kirkland Lake and Mitchell Martin both connected on the first chances of the shootout.
Then after three straight stops, Gerstein skated in with his opportunity and promptly snapped a quick shot into the right corner to cap off a perfect 3-0 weekend road trip for the Gold Miners.
Shots on net finished up 37-36 in favour of KL with McNair earning the triumph while Heinzle’s efforts helped his side earn a point in defeat as they suffered their first setback of 2020, as they have now gone 12-0-0-1 in the new year.