TIMMINS, Ont. – The Hearst Lumberjacks stormed back from an early deficit and notched five unanswered goals to pull out a 5-3 come from behind victory over the Timmins Rock Wednesday in Game 2 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division Final at McIntyre Arena.
With the result, the best-of-seven match-up is now tied 1-1 heading into Games 3 (7:30 p.m.) & 4 (4 p.m.) Saturday and Sunday at Claude Larose Recreation Centre in Hearst.
Timmins began the night’s scoring half way through the first period as Nicholas Frederick picked off a pass and moved behind the net where he shovelled a feed in front that was knocked past Hearst goalkeeper Liam Oxner, by Henry Brock, to put the home side in front, with his initial marker of the postseason.
The Rock then made it 2-0 a couple of shifts later as Tyler Gilberds scooped up a rebound off a Dylan McElhinny attempt and made a quick cut to his left and lifted the puck past the pad of Oxner.
A third Timmins tally in the session came off a neutral zone turnover that allowed Harry Clark to cut through a Hearst defender then make a number of dekes and allowed him to finally go to his right and slide in another for his club at 17:20.
Getting one back before the intermission, the Lumberjacks’ Ryan Glazer buried a rebound off an Alex Hunt shot from the left point that Rock goalkeeper Gavin McCarthy could not corral.
Building on the momentum of that, Hearst’s vaunted power play went to work five minutes into the second period, as defenceman Jaden Raad snapped one in from the left circle, to pull the guests to within one.
Not done there, the visitors tied it on the next shift with William Neeld collecting the equalizer at 5:39 as he raised a back hand over McCarthy’s glove to level the proceedings.
The NOJHL’s leading goal scorer during the regular season picked an opportune time to pick-up his first of the playoffs as the Lumberjacks’ Robbie Rutledge clicked on a man advantage at 18:48 to give his side the lead.
He did so by whipping in a one-timer while parked to the left of McCarthy off a perfect feed from teammate Reilly Klugerman to put Hearst up 4-3 after 40 minutes.
In the third, the visitors capped off their comeback in the late going when Zachary Demers won a race to the puck on a long-range dump in and scored into an empty net to seal the win and even the series.
NOJHL East Division Final
Timmins Rock vs. Hearst Lumberjacks
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Rock 6 Lumberjacks 1
Game 2: Lumberjacks 5 Rock 3
Game 3: Saturday, April 23 @ Hearst 7:30 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
Game 4: Sunday, April 24 @ Hearst 4 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
Game 5: Monday, April 25 @ Timmins 7:30 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 6*: Wednesday, April 27 @ Hearst 7:30 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
Game 7*: Friday, April 29 @ Timmins 7:30 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network