GALLERY: Hearst holds off persistent Kirkland Lake

Photos: Allyson Demers

KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The Hearst got a couple of goals from defenceman Benjamin Thornley-Hall as part of a narrow 6-5 decision over a persistent Kirkland Lake Gold Miners’ squad in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Sunday matinee Sunday at Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.

The visiting Lumberjacks began the day’s scoring 12 and half minutes into the match-up when Riley Klugerman slammed in a rebound off a Gregory Harley effort whose initial shot was stopped by Gold Miners’ goalkeeper Braydon Garnhart.

Tying it in the latter stages of the first period, some crisp Kirkland Lake puck movement saw Benjamin Armatage bury a one-timer as he quickly hammered in a pass from Andronique Stepanian at 17:48.

Heading to the second stanza, Hearst regained the lead as Thornley-Hall came out from the side boards and put one through Garnhart from a sharp angle.

Special teams helped the visitors build on that as they struck once shorthanded and added another via the power play to extend their cushion.

Mason Svarich was sent in alone while his club was down a skater and flipped a shot over a sprawling Gold Miners’ netminder.

They then saw Thornley-Hall connect on a man advantage as he put one upstairs from the left of the crease.

Chane DeBolt came back with one for the home side at 12:25 by picking off a pass and promptly firing one past the blocker of Papineau.

However, a fourth Lumberjacks’ goal in the period came before the intermission when Tyler Bortkiewicz took a Noah Janicki feed and whipped his chance by Garnhart from the high slot.

That marker also saw Ethan Barron come in as the hosts opted for a goaltending change.

In the third, Stepanian scored at 8:26 as he went to the net and eventually shovelled one by Papineau off some solid work.

The Gold Miners then made it 5-4 with 3:45 remaining on William Neeld’s first of the season as he put in a backhand while moving towards slot.

However, Hearst countered quickly and saw Zachary Demers win a faceoff cleanly to Mathieu Comeau who wired one past Barron from the right circle.

Continuing to battle, Kirkland Lake got one final goal in the contest, on a marker that was put towards the net by Ian McDonald, and saw it clip off DeBolt’s skate and in with their goalkeeper on the bench for an extra player.

That would be it though offensively as Hearst held on for the victory.

Despite the five goals against, Papineau has now won each of his past 11 starts in helping Hearst improve to 38-11-2-0 on the season, while in defeat, Kirkland Lake dipped to 5-44-1-1.