FRENCH RIVER – Jack Ginocchi’s second period power play goal proved to be the game-winner as the French River Rapids went on to defeat the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4-2 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League get together Saturday at Noelville Arena.
The outcome secures a playoff berth for the Rapids, as they will now meet the Timmins Rock in a best-of-seven East Division semifinal series.
Saturday’s all-important contest saw French River strike first as the Rapids broke out in transition and saw Connor Picard dart in across the blueline and fire a shot that beat Kirkland Lake starter Braydon Garnhart at 14:11 of the opening period.
Coming right back on the night shift, the home side tacked on another when Nolan Masson drove to the net and tucked his chance by Garnhart to put his club up by a pair.
Carrying their two-tally cushion into the middle session, French River went up by three while on the power play as Ginocchi broke up a shorthanded rush, then carried the play up ice when he steered in a pass on a two-on-one at 5:05.
Up a skater themselves, the Gold Miners got one back thanks to Jake King slamming in a loose puck from the top of the crease on the Rapids’ Matthew Perdue.
Adding a fourth for the hosts in the final frame, with 7:45 to go, Jordan Bax pulled up in the slot and wired a shot into the top left corner.
Kirkland Lake got Garnhart out for an extra skater and got one back when Benjamin Armatage batted one in out of mid-air, but that would be it offensively before time expired.
The victory sees the playoff-bound Rapids improve to 9-46-2-1 overall, while in defeat, the Gold Miners fell to 7-48-1-1.