NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Wilbur strikes late as Kirkland Lake edges Espanola in game 3
KIRKLAND LAKE – A Samuel Wilbur sharp-angle goal with 42 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners to a narrow 3-2 triumph over the Espanola Rivermen Tuesday evening in game 3 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League semifinal series at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
With the win the Gold Miners now lead the best-of-seven affair 3-0 heading into game 4 Thursday night at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
A tight-checking opening 20 minutes saw the two sides go scoreless with goaltenders Justin Pominville of Kirkland Lake and Espanola’s Kevin Labelle combining to stop all 17 shots they faced.
The visitors would get on the board first, 2:43 into the middle session, as Corbin Bean connected on the power play notching his league-leading seventh tally of the postseason.
Labelle was called upon to make a couple of big stops after that as he thwarted Wilbur twice with a pair of splendid pad saves, including one on a penalty shot, midway through the contest.
Steven Babin would eventually tie it for the Gold Miners in the latter stages of the session as he finished off a feed from Damon MacEachern at 16:41.
Kirkland Lake took their first lead of the night eight and a half minutes into the final frame as Jonathon Langford’s shot put the home side on top.
Battling back, the Rivermen pulled even as Ryan Atwood levelled the proceedings with 9:16 to go.
With overtime looming Wilbur scored the winner late coming out from behind the net and from near the goal line lifting the puck high over Labelle, and in, to move the Miners a win away from advancing to the final.
Pominville finished the night with 23 stops to pick-up the victory with Labelle facing 31 attempts in defeat.
NOJHL playoff action resumes Wednesday as the Abitibi Eskimos host the Soo Thunderbirds in game 3 of their semifinal series at 7:30 p.m. at Jus Jordan Arena.
The Thunderbirds lead that best-of-seven set 2-0.
NOJHL SEMIFINAL SCHEDULE/RESULTS:
No. 2 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners vs. No. 3 Espanola Rivermen
Gold Miners lead best-of-seven series 3-0
Game 1: Kirkland Lake 2 Espanola 1
Game 2: Kirkland Lake 2 Espanola 1
Game 3: Kirkland Lake 3 Espanola 2
Game 4: Thursday, April 3 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m.
Game 5*: Saturday, April 5 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.
Game 6*: Monday, April 7 @ Espanola 7:30 p.m.
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 9 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m.
No. 1 Soo Thunderbirds vs. No. 4 Abitibi Eskimos
Thunderbirds lead best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Soo 5 Abitibi 4
Game 2: Soo 4 Abitibi 1
Game 3: Wednesday, April 2 @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 4: Thursday, April 3 @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 5*: Saturday, April 5 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Monday, April 7 @ Abitibi 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 9 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)