Photos: Sudbury Light Event Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – A Mathieu Comeau marker off a nice rush up ice, seven and a half minutes into the third period, proved to be the eventual difference maker as the Hearst Lumberjacks went on to defeat to Soo Thunderbirds 5-3 Wednesday afternoon at Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Sporting the league’s best power play proficiency rate coming into the contest, Hearst added to it at the 11-minute mark of the first frame when Mason Savarich backhanded in a rebound off a Noah Janicki attempt from the right side for his 10th point in nine games, so far this season.
The Lumberjacks added another late in the session as Riley Klugerman finished off a crafty give-and-go, via a two-on-one, with Emile Pichette at 18:33.
That tally was Klugerman’s NOJHL-leading 11th of the season.
Moving to the second stanza, the Thunderbirds knocked one in early that was credited to Samuel Lake after teammate Ludovic Raymond drove to the net off a turnover.
Special teams helped Sault Ste. Marie drew level midway through the proceedings as Kaden Dundas began a man-down rush in his own zone, then proceeded ahead and made a nice chip-pass on a backhand to Jackson Truchan, who in return sent it back over to Dundas and watched him whip in a shorthanded goal past Hearst netminder Ethan Dinsdale.
Knotted at 2-2 into the third period, the Lumberjacks regained the lead a couple of minutes in as Ethan Kitsch was credited with his initial tally as his wrist shot from the top of the right circle, clipped off a body in front and fluttered into the net.
Hearst tacked on another at 7:28 when Comeau dashed out of his territory and proceeded to dash up ice, then across the Soo blueline, before cutting in to the middle and whipping a wrister past Bourret.
Inching closer again, the Thunderbirds clicked midway through the frame as Brodie McConnell-Barker was allowed to move in from the left point where he eventually wired a shot from the face off dot that sailed high over Dinsdale.
Pressing for the equalizer in the late going, and with their goalkeeper out for an extra attacker, the Soo battled to force overtime, however Hearst picked off the puck and saw Pichette sail it down the ice from long range into the empty net to secure the victory and round out the scoring.