HEARST, Ont. – The Hearst Lumberjacks debut in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League was a victorious one as they rode the 30-save shutout of netminder Artem Bortovskiy to blank the Soo Thunderbirds 2-0 Friday in front of 627 boisterous fans at Claude Larose Arena.
Hearst picked up the only goal they would need on the night as Max Griffioen was credited with the first tally in Lumberjacks’ history 14:14 into the first period.
It was a goaltender’s duel from there with Bortovskiy and Thunderbirds’ starter Brandon Gordon keeping the score at 1-0 Hearst late into regulation.
In the final minute of the game and on a power play, Sault Ste. Marie pulled Gordon in favour on an extra attacker in an attempt to tie it and force overtime, but Bradley Golant iced it with five seconds to go with a shorthanded effort into an empty net to round out the scoring and secure Hearst’s initial league victory.
The Lumberjacks held the edge in shots on goal by a 40-30 margin in the win.