Photos: Northern Exposures Photography
SUDBURY, Ont. – An Oliver Smith marker 1:15 into overtime lifted the Greater Sudbury Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Timmins Rock Thursday evening in a highly-entertaining Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest at Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Featuring the top two teams in the NOJHL, in terms of goals-scored, the clubs did not disappoint when it came to quality chances generated at both ends of the ice.
Going to the power play in the latter stages of the first period, Timmins took advantage of the extra-man opportunity to take a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
On the play, the Rock worked the puck behind the net where Nicholas Frederick was there to send it in front to waiting Lucas Piekarczyk who fired an attempt that got through the legs of Cubs’ starter Noah Beaulne and trickled across the goal line.
In the second stanza, the visitors had a great chance to extend their lead near the midway point of the proceedings as Nicolas Pigeon darted in alone on a shorthanded breakaway, only to be stymied on a solid stop by Beaulne.
On that same man advantage, Greater Sudbury came right back to tie it when Cole Crowder rifled a shot over the shoulder of Timmins’ netminder Patrick Boivin into the top corner from a sharp angle, while situated on the right side.
Building on that, the Cubs went in front at 11:17 thanks to Billy Biedermann providing his team-leading 11th tally of the season as he split the Rock defence and went in and lifted a rising backhand over Boivin’s glove.
Countering with an equalizer in the first minute of the third, Timmins drew level as Piekarkczyk finished off an odd-skater rush into the Greater Sudbury zone by burying his second of the evening, with a top-shelf effort.
The Rock almost retook the lead with under six minutes remaining in regulation, but Beaulne made a superb save on a two-man opportunity as he came across his crease to stone on Ethan Pool from close range.
Heading to overtime, the Cubs prevailed 75 seconds in as Samuel Assinewai, who was playing his opening game in the league this season, won a race down into the corner and calmly made a soft backhand over to a streaking Smith who deposited the game-winner into the bottom right-hand corner to help Greater Sudbury win their fifth straight and improve to a NOJHL-best 13-2-2-0.
The triumph for Beaulne was his sixth in succession as he raised his record to 8-1-0-0.
Timmins did collect a point in defeat as they saw their record go to 11-4-2-1 on the year.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel