Voyageurs edge Express to advance to Polar Bear Classic final



Release Date: Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016

Voyageurs edge Express to advance to Polar Bear Classic final

COCHRANE, Ont. – Josh Hardiman had a hat trick and an assist to help the Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) edge the Espanola Express 5-4 in semifinal No. 1 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Polar Bear Classic preseason tournament Sunday morning at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

Kingston, now 5-0 in the five-team tourney, advances the PBC championship game at 7 p.m. Sunday evening vs. either the host Cochrane Crunch or the Iroquois Falls Eskis, who meet in the event’s second semifinal.

Espanola got off to a good start in the first semi as Jason Bednarski put the Express on top 2:45 in to the contest.

The Voyageurs used the power play to knot the affair at 1-1 midway through the opening stanza with Hardiman collecting his initial marker of the day.

Two more man advantage markers, less than two minutes apart, in the second stanza allowed the Ontario Junior Hockey League side to go up a pair as Connor Cobbold and Cole Beckstead both found the back of the net.

Hardiman then made it 4-1 Kingston at 10:41 before Dominik Lavergne struck on the power play for Espanola a minute and a half later to pull the Express to within two entering the third period.

Action in the final session saw Hardiman finish off his three-goal, four-point day with 8:44 to go.

Continuing to battle, Espanola made it 5-3 while up a man at 15:30 while Lavergne added one more in the final minute to round out the scoring.

Beckstead and former NOJHLer Brett Ouderkirk dished out two assists apiece for the Voyageurs.

Rock Boynton started for Kingston while Patrick Kealy also saw time in net as the duo combined to make 42 saves in earning the victory.

Shane Lippicott was equally solid for the Express as he faced 50 shots in defeat in the Espanola goal.

Polar Bear Classic Schedule/Results
@ Tim Horton Event Centre – Cochrane, Ont.

Thursday, Sept. 1
Iroquois Falls 5 Espanola 4
Kingston (OJHL) 3 Cochrane 2

Friday, Sept. 2
Cochrane 5 Iroquois Falls 4
Kingston (OJHL) 4 Kirkland Lake 2
Iroquois Falls 3 Kirkland Lake 2
Espanola 6 Cochrane 5

Saturday, Sept. 3
Kingston (OJHL) 4 Iroquois Falls 1
Espanola 4 Kirkland Lake 3
Kingston (OJHL) 6 vs. Espanola 3
Cochrane 3 Kirkland Lake 1

Sunday, Sept. 4
Semifinal A: Kingston (OJHL) 5 Espanola 4
Semifinal B: No. 3 Iroquois Falls vs. No. 2 Cochrane 12:30 p.m.
Final: Semifinal B winner vs. Kingston (OJHL) 7 p.m.