Photos: Marc-André Longval
HEARST, Ont. – A five-goal outburst in the final 10 minutes of regulation helped the Hearst Lumberjacks rally past the Elliot Lake Red Wings 5-2 Sunday in an action-packed Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League inter-divisional contest at the Clause Larose Recreation Centre.
A free-wheeling opening frame provided plenty of chances at both ends of the ice, that included a lengthy two-man advantage for Hearst, but neither side was able to convert offensively.
In the second stanza, up a pair of skaters themselves, Elliot Lake broke the scoreless deadlock as Cameron Dial cranked one from the high slot that flew past Lumberjacks’ netminder Liam Oxner at 15:15.
Skating four-on-four late in the period, the Red Wings broke out on a two-man break that was finished off by Brodie Kearns as he took a crisp cross-ice feed from Silas Crawford.
Pulling back to within one, midway through the third, Hearst finally solved Elliot Lake netminder Colton Donaldson, while on the power play, as Dylan Ford faked a shot waiting for a defender to slide past him, before he ripped a shot into the top right hand corner to make it 2-1.
The NOJHL’s leading scorer, Robbie Rutledge, then levelled the proceedings as he chipped in his 26th of the campaign as he lifted one over the glove of Donaldson at 13:13.
Continuing to press, Hearst completed the comeback in the late going as Rutledge put a perfect pass over to Raphael Lajeunese, who promptly snapped in his 15th.
The Lumberjacks kept coming on the next shift and saw Cody Walker convert from close range, a mere 24 seconds later.
Zachary Demers then finished it off for the home side, in the waning moments, by scoring into an empty net.
Oxner picked up the win while Donaldson suffered the defeat.