HEARST, Ont. – A Max Johnson marker 17 minutes into the second period held up as the deciding goal as the Hearst Lumberjacks went on to defeat the Timmins 3-2 in Game 7 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal in front of a near-capacity crowd of 1,295 Wednesday evening at Claude Larose Arena.
With the victory, Hearst now moves on to meet the Powassan Voodoos in the East Division Final.
Wednesday’s match-up saw the hometown Lumberjacks the first to connect offensively in the finale as defenceman Troy Daniels corralled the puck behind his own net, then proceeded to go coast-to-coast, darting down the right wing then cutting in and outwaiting Timmins netminder Tyler Masternak before tucking the puck past his outstretched pad at 7:48.
Hearst had a couple of other point-blank chances later in the first period, only to be denied by a pair of quality stops by Masternak.
The Rock came back to draw level early in the middle stanza, via the power play, with Matt Capisciolto collecting the rebound off a Josh Dickson shot from the point and notching the equalizer.
Countering, the Lumberjacks answered at the seven-minute mark to go back on top with Blaise Arkle neatly redirecting an attempt towards the goal from defenceman Mathew Eardly.
They then added another on a quick transition at 17:04 as Max Johnson snagged a Bradley Golant feed then drove to the net and snapped a shot that found the back of the net on the right side.
Moving on to a tight-checking third, Timmins did get one back with 1:54 remaining in regulation when Riley Brousseau deftly knocked one out of mid-air from right on top of Hearst goalkeeper Nicholas Tallarico.
However, a solid Lumberjacks forecheck kept the Rock at bay the rest of the way as they held on for the win and completed a rally from a three games to one deficit to take series that went the maximum.
Shots on goal in the contest favoured Hearst by a 24-13 count with Tallarico registering the win while Masternak suffered the season-ending setback.
East Division semifinal
No. 1 Hearst Lumberjacks vs. No. 4 Timmins Rock
Hearst wins best-of-seven series 4-3
Game 1: Hearst 6 Timmins 3
Game 2: Timmins 6 Hearst 2
Game 3: Timmins 2 Hearst 1 (OT)
Game 4: Timmins 2 Hearst 1 (2OT)
Game 5: Hearst 5 Timmins 3
Game 6: Hearst 5 Timmins 4
Game 7: Hearst 3 Timmins 2
Game Photos courtesy of Highway Eleven &Co.