T-Birds take first place showdown vs. Gold Miners while Rivermen and Eskimos also win


Release Date: Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013

T-Birds take first place showdown vs. Gold Miners while Rivermen and Eskimos also win

SUDBURY – A trio of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League matinees Sunday saw the Soo Thunderbirds come out on top in a first place showdown vs. the Kirkland Lake gold Miners, the Espanola Rivermen handle the Blind River Beavers and Abitibi Eskimos come out on top over the North Bay Trappers. 

SOO THUNDERBIRDS 6 KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS 2 – The Thunderbirds ran their home unbeaten streak to 16 as they rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat visiting Kirkland Lake at Essar Centre.

With the victory Saturday Sault Ste. Marie retakes sole possession of first place in the NOJHL standings with 44 points on a 21-4-0-2 record.

In the setback the Gold Miners slid back into second spot in the league staying at 42 points with a 20-3-0-2 mark, but also still holding two games in hand on the T-Birds.

It was a great start for Kirkland Lake as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play of goals by Tanner Lafrance and Austin Rust.

The second stanza was all Thunderbirds however as they tallied four times in a span of four minutes and 19 seconds to take control.

Tyler Jones started the comeback with a pair of markers while Darcy Haines and Brett Jeffries, shorthanded, added solo efforts.

Jones then added his third point of the afternoon midway through the final session as he fed Anthony Butorac for his third goal of the season.

Then for good measure Jones tacked on point No. 4 in the final minute assisting on a Gavin Burbach marker to complete the comeback with for the Sault.

Joel Horodziejczyk won his 10th consecutive start for the Thunderbirds making 24 stops in the triumph.

Kenny Fitzgerald saw 37 attempts fired his way in a losing cause for the Gold Miners.

ESPANOLA RIVERMEN 7 BLIND RIVER BEAVERS 2 – Espanola’s Cray Roberge, Brandon Major, Brennen Dubchak and Corbin Bean combined for 12 points as Espanola rolled on home ice over slumping Blind River.

The Rivermen took a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on tallies by Roberge and J.T. Walters.

After Matthew Neault pulled the Beavers to within one at 18:07 of the middle session, Brennen Dubchak answered right back for Espanola just 16 seconds later to restore the two-goal cushion.

Major then connected at 19:10 to put his side up 4-1 following two periods of play.

Espanola then put the game away in the final frame outscoring the visitors 3-1 on efforts by Alex Martin, rookie defenceman Nathan Campbell, with his first in the NOJHL, and Brandon Janke while Marc Pompei countered for Blind River.

Bean finished with three assists for the winners.

Joakim Jutras faced 15 shots in the win for the Rivermen who improved to 17-10.

Shaun Gerbinki was pelted with 47 pucks for the Beavers who saw their winless drought reach 13 games as they dropped to 4-21-0-1 overall.

ABITIBI ESKIMOS 5 NORTH BAY TRAPPERS 2 – Brennan Roy dished out three assists to help Abitibi wrap-up a three-game road trip on a positive note as they upended the Trappers at West Ferris Arena.

Roy began his effort by setting up Ben Miller and Brendan Locke for two of his points in the first period.

He added his third on the only tally of the middle frame as he fed Marc Dube at 5:16.

The Eskimos tacked on two more in the third to go up five as Shane Hiley and Brady Clouthier both found the mark.

Eric Champagne then dashed Brody Wagner’s shutout bid 7:49 to go while Henry Yawit rounded out the scoring in the late going to finalize the result.

Wagner made 30 saves in registering the win for Abitibi with Dustin Hummel seeing 32 shots against in a losing cause for the Trappers.

With the victory Abitibi raised their record to 12-11-0-2 on the season while North Bay slipped to 9-14-0-4.

NOJHL play resumes Wednesday as Sudbury hosts Blind River in a 7:30 p.m. start at McClelland Arena.