GALLERY: Hearst wins NOJHL East on Max Johnson’s penalty shot marker in OT

HEARST, Ont. – A Max Johnson penalty shot goal 2:06 into overtime gave the Hearst Lumberjacks a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Powassan Voodoos in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League high-spirited match-up Saturday in front of fans packed into Claude Larose Arena.

With the win, Hearst captures their first NOJHL East Division title to give them the No. 1 seed in the East heading into the upcoming playoffs.

While both clubs entered the contest among the upper echelon in the league in fewest goals allowed on the season, it was an offensive show as the two teams combined for eight tallies through two periods of play.

Hearst took a 2-1 lead after one with Daniel Fisher and Justin Miron wrapping markers around one by Powassan’s Matthew Hardwick.

Action in the middle frame saw Max Johnson put the Lumberjacks up by a pair at 3:05.

However, the Voodoos countered with goals from Joe Whitett and Rico Rossi in rapid succession before the night was half done to knot the score at 3-3.

The squads continued to click later in the second as Hearst’s Jacob Comeau, with his first, and Powassan’s Cam Moore supplying his seventh to make it 4-4 after 40 minutes.

Back and forth they continued as the Voodoos took their first lead of the evening as Cade Herd collected his 22nd goal, which matched a career single-season high for the veteran forward, at the 51-second mark.

From there, Austin Heidt levelled the proceedings once again seven and a half minutes into the third to help send it to extra time.

In OT, Johnson was awarded the penalty shot after it was deemed a Powassan defender intentionally dislodged the net to stop play.

Making the most of his opportunity, he darted in, cut left to right and calmly tucked a back hand through the legs of Voodoos’ goaltender Joe Vrbetic to end it.

Max Griffioen and Troy Daniels chipped in with two assists apiece for Hearst while Moore had a pair of helpers for Powassan.

The Lumberjacks also held the edge in shots, 38-27, with Nicholas Tallarico picking up the win with Vrbetic’s efforts helping his side earn a point in defeat.