Photos: Gary Rosevear
HEARST, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners withstood a late Hearst Lumberjacks comeback bid before eventually prevailing 4-3 Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
The hometown Lumberjacks struck first, four and a half minutes into the contest, moments after Jack Nolan was stopped by Gold Miners’ netminder Graydon Mole, he collected the loose puck and set-up Aiden Kalin in the left circle where he whipped in his seventh tally of the season.
Answering with an equalizer, during a man advantage, at the 16-minute mark, Kirkland Lake drew level when Noah Woodard neatly guided in a pass from Benjamin Armatage.
Going in front at 4:01 of the second period, the Gold Miners used a quick breakout to help send Luca Maiuri in alone of the left side, then saw him drive to the net where he tucked a clever backhand through the legs of Decoste.
Continuing to click offensively, Kirkland Lake tacked on two more to go up by three with half a game to play.
Armatage made it 3-1 at 8:53 as he was left with a tap-in on a two-on-one from a cross-crease feed by Woodard.
They then saw Evan Norris snag the puck on the side boards where he came out and whipped a shot past the pad of Decoste.
This also saw Hearst make a goaltending change and in came back-up Tristan Boileau in relief.
Pulling to within two at 12:20 of the third, Tyler Patterson brought the Lumberjacks closer as he banged in a rebound off a Jacob Emmanuel Jr., point blast.
With their goalie out for an extra attacker, the hosts added another in the final minute with Liam Boswell being credited with tipping in a Noah Janicki attempt from the right corner.
The Gold Miners held on from there though to preserve the road victory, in improving to 6-13-3-1 on the season.
With the defeat the Lumberjacks fell to 9-9-3-1.
The same two teams will meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. back in Hearst and on FLOHockey.tv.