Media Library Photo: Marc-André Longval
HEARST, Ont. – The high-scoring Hearst Lumberjacks continued their impressive goal production Friday night as they dropped the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 8-4 Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Claude Larose Arena.
Hearst needed just 140 seconds to open the night’s scoring as Dylan Ford put a play to the net from the left point that was redirected by Maxandre Pelletier, right to Cody Walker, who slammed in fourth of the season into the open side on Kirkland Lake goalkeeper Zachary Reddy.
Striking shorthanded, Kirkland Lake tied it midway through the first as Ian McDonald chipped a pass up that sent the visitors off on a two-on-one break where Camille Marcoux finished off a nice give-and-go with Jacob Hiltz.
Still on the man advantage though, the Lumberjacks came right back to retake the lead with Mason Bazaluk pushing one in on a second attempt as he tallied for a second-straight outing, which spelled an early to Reddy’s evening in favour of Keaton Lyons.
A second-straight power play tally made it 3-1 Hearst with Mathieu Comeau completing a nice move and rush by Robbie Rutledge as he was left with plenty of net to score for the fourth time in as many games.
In the middle stanza, the visitors drew closer again as McDonald sent a rising shot from the point that sailed over the shoulder of Lumberjacks goaltender Matteo Gennaro at 2:17.
However, the hosts had another rapid reply with Jaden Raad restoring the two-tally cushion 57 seconds later off some crafty play-making from Raphael Lajeunesse that let him whip in his sixth of the season.
Not done there, Rutledge made in 5-2 at 6:51 as he buried his NOJHL-leading 23rd goal of the season by firing one, blocker side, from close range.
Hearst, who are among the league-leaders in tallies, kept coming as William Neeld added to their cushion with his side’s third man advantage effort of the night.
The Gold Miners’ Marcoux and the Lumberjacks’ Riley Klugerman then traded markers before the teams hit the second intermission.
Marcoux’s third of the night, and first-ever NOJHL hat trick, added another to Kirkland Lake’s totals as he powered down the left wing, drove to the net, then proceeded to lift one upstairs on Gennaro, from in tight, at 5:38.
Capping off the night’s scoring, Hearst’s Xavier Boulanger stuffed in his initial league marker while falling in the crease to complete a Brayden Palfi end-to-end rush.
Gennaro finished with 35 saves to get the win while Lyons suffered the loss in relief, allowing six on 39 chances.
As for Reddy, he had six stops in just over 10 and a half minutes of work in the contest.