Kirkland Lake takes back and forth shootout affair vs. Hearst

KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners saw both Max Newnam and Casey Gerstein score in the shootout to help them skate to an entertaining 6-5 decision over the Hearst Lumberjacks in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Sunday at Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.

Each side would score once in the opening frame with Gerstein getting the Gold Miners on the board at 12:48 before Max Messier answered for the Lumberjacks before the session was complete.

It was much the same in the middle stanza as Zachary Frescura put Kirkland Lake back on top before Olivier Cloutier-Faucher countered with a power play effort for Hearst to knot the affair at 2-2 after two.

Quick connections from Connor Van Weelie and Frescura once more put the hosts up by a pair early in the third, only to see the visitors answer with tallies courtesy of Trystan Mughal, at even strength, and Justin Miron, via the man advantage to level the proceedings once more with still over 13 minutes to play in regulation.

This back and forth affair saw each club score once more to help send it to overtime with Newnam converting for the Gold Miners only to see Alex Cannon counter moments later as he reached the 20-goal plateau on the campaign.

After an end-to-end OT failed to provide a result, extra shots were needed to decide a winner.

There, Newnam on a deke and Gerstein with a snap shot that trickled through Hearst netminder Caleb VanHeest ended it to wrap up the regular season for both clubs.

Shots on goal finished up 40-27 in favour of the hosts with Kohl Reddy getting the win while VanHeest helped his team earn a point in defeat.

Kirkland Lake will now prepare for a first-round playoff match-up vs. the Cochrane Crunch that gets underway Thursday at the Tim Horton Events Centre.

Hearst meanwhile can now gear up for a second-round series against the Timmins Rock in another NOJHL East Division postseason affair.