NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013
Thunderbirds need OT to edge Beavers; Gold Miners slip past Bobcats, Rivermen shutout Trappers
SUDBURY – Of the three Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League games staged Friday two were as close as you can get while the third was a one-sided decision with the Soo Thunderbirds, Kirkland Lake Gold Miners and Espanola Rivermen all coming out on top.
SOO THUNDERBIRDS 4 BLIND RIVER BEAVERS 3 (OT) – It took overtime to do so, but the Thunderbirds extended their winning streak to 11 games as they pulled out the narrow victory against a persistent Blind River squad at Essar Centre.
Trevor Simonick opened the scoring getting the Beavers on the board first as he beat Soo starter Brian Kment with 4:44 to go in the first period.
The T-Birds tied it just over a minute later courtesy of Brett Jefferies to level things after the opening frame.
Luke MacDonald gave the visitors the lead once again in the middle session only to see Anthony Miller answer back at 15:58.
Blind River then took their third lead of the evening with 60 seconds remaining in the middle stanza courtesy of Nick Trecroce.
Once again Sault Ste. Marie rallied with Anthony Butorac notching the equalizer and forcing OT with 15:14 to go in regulation.
That set the stage for the Thunderbirds to win it as David Radke buried the game-winner past Dylan Knox in the Beavers’ net.
The Sault held a big edge in the shots on goal department 41-19 with Kment picking up the win and Knox’s efforts allowing his side to pick-up a point despite the setback.
Miller also had three assists for the victors finishing with a four-point game.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS 4 ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 3 – Another closely contested match-up saw the visiting Gold Miners pull out the narrow triumph over the Bobcats at Centennial Arena.
Each side found the back of the net once in the opening session with John Waghorne connecting for Elliot Lake and Steven Babin countering for Kirkland Lake.
Babin and Austin Rust then combined to make it 3-1 Miners midway through the game only to see Jarred Walker pull the Cats closer at 10:55.
Zach Pease made it 4-2 Kirkland Lake after 40 minutes as he found the mark with 45 seconds left in the second.
Dustin Cordeiro made it 4-3 with less than two minutes to play, but that’s as close as they would get before time expired.
Rust, Everett Thompson and Samuel Wilbur each dished out two assists apiece the aid the winner’s offensive cause.
Kenny Fitzgerald made 36 stops to register the victory for the Gold Miners who fired 43 attempts on Elliot Lake starter Alex Bitsakis.
ESPANOLA RIVERMEN 8 NORTH BAY TRAPPERS 0 – Espanola affiliate netminder Kevin Labelle turned aside all 30 shots he faced in his first NOJHL appearance to blank the Trappers at the Regional Recreation Complex.
The Rivermen gave all the support Labelle would need in the initial frame getting tallies from Blake Peavey, Brennen Dubchak and Brad Edwards to up 3-0 after 20 minutes.
Espanola continued on in the second stanza getting a power play marker from J.T. Walker to increase the cushion heading into the final frame.
They then put the game away in the third tacking on four more goals to complete the romp.
Brandon Janke had two while Corbin Bean and Edwards had the others.
Robert Smythe also had a big night for the Rivermen as he dished out five assists with Edwards having two of his own foe a four-point evening.
The goal and later assist by Dubchak saw him extend a consecutive game point streak to 16 games.
Evan Cormier was pelted with 45 pucks in a losing cause for North Bay.
NOJHL action resumes Saturday on three fronts including the Trappers taking on the Gold Miners in a 3:30 p.m. matinee, which will be held at Pete Palangio Arena on the DeMarco ice surface in North Bay.
Meanwhile Sault Ste. Marie and Blind River will meet again with this one slated for 7:30 p.m. in Thessalon in a neutral site affair.
Wrapping up the Saturday schedule has the Abitibi Eskimos at home vs. the Sudbury Nickel Barons in a 7:30 p.m. face-off at Jus Jordan Arena.