Photos: Marc Johnson
HEARST, Ont. – Needing to win to keep their season going, the Powassan Voodoos did just that Wednesday night as they skated to a 2-1 hard-fought victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff action at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
With the outcome, the Voodoos still trail the best-of-seven affair 3-2, but have forced a Game 6 Friday at the Powassan Sportsplex, which will get underway at 7 p.m.
Facing that must-win scenario, Powassan got on the board first, striking on the power play near the mid-way point of the opening frame as Chase MacQueen-Spence ripped one in from the left circle, beating Hearst netminder Liam Oxner.
Countering with the equalizer, with a man advantage effort of their own at 11:08, Raphael Lajeunesse levelled the proceedings, with his fifth of the playoffs, as he took a nice cross-ice feed from Zachary Demers and whipped it in, short side, on Voodoos’ starter Alex Bugeja.
Staying knotted at 1-1 into the second stanza, the two sides battled through a scoreless middle frame as they headed to the third still level.
In the final frame, Owen Fergusson got the go-ahead goal for Powassan off a give-and-go with Ryan O’Dell then made a nice move to get around a defender and proceeded to rip one upstairs over Oxner’s shoulder with just over a half a period to play.
Holding firm defensively from there, Bugeja and his teammates prevented a tying tally the rest of the way to send them home for another contest, Friday.
NOJHL East Division semifinal
Hearst Lumberjacks vs. Powassan Voodoos
Hearst leads best-of-seven series 3-2
Game 1: Lumberjacks 4 Voodoos 1
Game 2: Voodoos 4 Lumberjacks 3
Game 3: Lumberjacks 3 Voodoos 0
Game 4: Lumberjacks 6 Voodoos 4
Game 5: Voodoos 2 Lumberjacks 1
Game 6: Friday, April 15 @ Powassan 7 p.m. (Powassan Sportsplex)
Game 7*: Sunday, April 17 @ Hearst 7 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel