Loft lifts French River to OT triumph in Hearst

HEARST, Ont. – A Connor Loft goal 23 seconds into overtime gave the French River Rapids a 4-3 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Friday at Claude Larose Arena.

An early power play helped Hearst get going offensively as Alec Johnson scored 2:53 into the contest.

Picking up assists on the tally were Max Griffioen, who extended a point streak to eight, and Jake Desando whose helper gave him points in seven straight outings.

Up a skater once more in the opening moments of the second stanza helped the home side add another as Bradley Golant notched his sixth.

Going on a power play of their own, French River cut into the deficit at 16:46 when Philippe Daoust picked up his 14th in this his initial campaign in the league to extend his lead among NOJHL rookies with 33 points.

Making his NOJHL debut, Reid Manning struck shorthanded for the Rapids early in the third to knot the score at 2-2.

Levi Siau then connected a couple shifts later to give French River the lead as Daoust added to his rookie point total with an assist on the play.

Back and forth they went with Hearst tying things up while down a man midway through the session as Dawson Waddell leveled the proceedings with half a period to play and help force extra time.

Heading to OT though, Loft scored quickly to give the visitors the win as his eighth of the year gave him a season-best tally total in league play.

French River goalkeeper Marshal Frappier was solid throughout as he finished with 38 saves in the victory.

Hearst starter Nicholas Tallarico saw 24 shots in the OT setback.