TIMMINS, Ont. – An Owen Porter power play marker 4:17 into overtime, deep into a lengthy man advantage, propelled the Hearst Lumberjacks to a 3-2 triumph over the Timmins Rock Monday night in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff action with over 1,200 spectators on hand at McIntyre Arena.
With the victory, the Lumberjacks now lead the best-of-seven East Division Final series 3-2, heading into Game 6 Wednesday night in Hearst at 7:30 p.m.
For the initial time in the overall match-up, it would be the Lumberjacks who scored first.
It came about after some pressure following a face off win and saw Andrew Potyk stuff in his first NOJHL postseason goal off a second opportunity in close at 10:26.
The lead was short lived however as the Rock came right back with the equalizer a minute and a half later as Harry Clark wheeled around the net and managed to get out to the other side and wrap one in before Hearst goalkeeper Matteo Gennaro, who was making his initial appearance in the playoffs, could get across to keep it out.
Clark now has a point in four straight outings as well as in eight of his past nine outings.
A free-wheeling rest of the frame saw end-to-end action, but neither side scored as they hit the intermission knotted at 1-1.
In the middle session, some solid work by the visitor’s penalty killers helped them handle a lengthy two-man disadvantage, including a couple of key stops by Gennaro.
Building on the momentum of that, Hearst came right back to take the lead as Raphael Lajeunesse wheeled into the slot from behind the goal line and whipped in his eighth of the playoffs as he beat Timmins’ goaltender Gavin McCarthy at 15:28.
Staying 2-1 for the Lumberjacks into the third, the Rock drew level with 7:11 remaining in regulation as they clicked while up a skater.
That marker came as Cameron Dutkiewicz made a perfect cross-ice feed over to Riley Brousseau, who quickly unleashed a low one-timer from the right circle that flew past a diving Gennaro.
With Timmins down a player with a major penalty called late in regulation, Hearst eventually got the game-winner when Lajeunesse sent a back hand across to Porter at the top of the right circle where he whipped the winner over McCarthy’s glove to end it and give his side a chance to close out the series on home ice Wednesday.
NOJHL East Division Final
Timmins Rock vs. Hearst Lumberjacks
Lumberjacks lead best-of-seven series 3-2
Game 1: Rock 6 Lumberjacks 1
Game 2: Lumberjacks 5 Rock 3
Game 3: Lumberjacks 6 Rock 5 (OT)
Game 4: Rock 6 Lumberjacks 3
Game 5: Lumberjacks 3 Rock 2 (OT)
Game 6: Wednesday, April 27 @ Hearst 7:30 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
Game 7*: Friday, April 29 @ Timmins 7:30 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel