Photos: Helene Rancourt
BLIND RIVER, Ont. – A crafty Zachary Demers shootout marker proved to be the decider as the Hearst Lumberjacks went on to defeat the Blind River Beavers 4-3 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Saturday at the Blind River Community Centre.
Taking advantage of a turnover at the Hearst blueline, the Beavers’ Evan Fraccaro picked it off and moved in where he used a Lumberjacks’ player as screen and fired a shot past netminder Matteo Gennaro at 5:23 for an unassisted effort.
Drawing level early into the second period, Demers fed Emile Pichette in the slot where he quickly buried the equalizer into the left corner on Blind River starter Charlie Burns, to give him goals in four straight games.
Picking up the second assist on the play was Riley Klugerman, who in turn extended a consecutive game point streak to 10 outings in a row.
The visitors then took the lead at 3:57 thanks to Brandan Tronchin as he finished off a play that began when Nicholas Jermolenko forced a loose puck behind the Beavers’ net.
It was more Fraccaro though, a few shifts later, as he did the work himself on a two-on-one where he waited for a Hearst defenceman to slide past him prior to moving in and finishing off his second of the night.
The Fraccaro show continued in the third after teammate Caleb Minns snagged a giveaway and fed him front where he went top shelf on a sprawling Gennaro at 4:48.
The Lumberjacks came right back however, with Demers tying it a couple of shifts later as he chipped one over the pad of an outstretched Burns at the top of the crease.
After the five-minute overtime failed to produce a result, it went to extra shots to decide a winner.
There, Klugerman started it off by using speed and completing a deke.
After a Beavers miss, Demers got the difference maker by coming in and using pull back to his left before shoving into the opposite top corner.
Fraccaro did strike once more for Blind River with a snap shot during his chance, but that would be it as the visitors gained the additional point on the night.