TIMMINS, Ont. – A Mathieu Comeau marker 91 seconds into overtime helped the Hearst Lumberjacks storm back from an early three-goal deficit and defeat the Timmins Rock 5-4 Sunday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at McIntyre Arena.
The victory was also the 12th straight triumph for the Lumberjacks.
An early power play paid dividends for the Rock 1:43 into the proceedings as Nolan Ring scooped up a bouncing puck in front and whipped it under the bar past a sprawled Liam Oxner in the Hearst net.
Timmins then made it 2-0 three minutes later when Eric Moreau unleashed a one-timer from the point with the blast counting as his first of the season.
They kept coming and notched another at 6:03 as Carson Cox slid one into the open net after Oxner became tangled up with a couple of players to his left.
Opting to make a goaltending change following the tally, Matteo Gennaro entered the contest for the Lumberjacks.
Getting one back, Comeau converted at 13:43 during a delayed penalty when he put an attempt over the shoulder of Rock netminder Gavin McCarthy for his 17th of the year.
Boasting the NOJHL’s best power play percentage, Hearst converted twice on man advantage chance late in the second to knot the affair at 3-3 after 40 minutes.
The league’s leading goal-getter, Robbie Rutledge, got the first one as he was left with a tap in off a perfect set-up by Jaden Raad to collect his 32nd overall at 16:04.
Then while up a skater in the final minute of the second, Raphael Lajeunesse bagged his 20th of the campaign when Raad came in and slid a feed that was put into the open cage after McCarthy was once again tangled up with a Hearst player.
In the third, the two sides traded tallies prior to the midway mark of the frame.
Harry Clark got his initial goal of the year for Timmins at 3:17 as he finished off a nice move and pass from behind the net courtesy of Nicolas Pigeon.
Drawing level once, the Lumberjacks’ Rutledge picked his NOJHL-leading 33rd five minutes later as he won a race to the puck and chipped it through McCarthy.
Heading to OT, Comeau completed the comeback after he skated up ice from his own zone into Rock territory where he proceeded to go right to left then rip the game-winner over McCarthy’s blocker to extend his club’s impressive winning streak.
Getting the win in lengthy relief helped Gennaro come away victorious in each of his past six appearances and go to 14-2-2-0 in this his rookie year.
Moving to a league-high 64 points, Hearst raised their overall record to 31-7-2-0 on the season.
In defeat, Timmins dropped a fourth straight decision and fell to 25-7-3-1 overall.