Photos: Northern Lights Photography
HEARST, Ont. – An Adam Shillinglaw slapshot goal 2:45 into overtime lifted the Hearst Lumberjacks to a 5-4 win over the Blind River Beavers Saturday in a back-and-forth and exciting Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
After a late start due to a weather-related travel delay, Blind River got on the board first, eight and a half minutes into things when Joshua Thompson steered in a nice feed from Michael Gallagher.
The Beavers then put another one past Hearst starter Ethan Dinsdale at 14:02 when Jesse Dupuis slammed in a Caleb Minns pass after a Lumberjacks’ defensive breakdown.
Picking up a late power play, helped the home side cut into the deficit before the first intermission as Tyler Patterson was set-up nicely by Zachary Demers in front where he worked the puck to his forehand and stuffed it by a sprawling Charlie Burns in the Blind River net.
Boosted by the late man advantage effort, second period play saw the Lumberjacks tally twice to take a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
Jett Mintenko drew Hearst level at 7:32 as he chipped in a loose puck with a bevy of bodies piled up in a goal-mouth scramble.
They then saw Emile Pichette put the hosts in front eight minutes later as he was perfectly set-up in the slot by Riley Klugerman, then quickly whipped in his team-leading 34th marker, that left Burns with little chance of making the stop.
In the third, the Beavers tied it on a lengthy man advantage where Gallagher buried a rebound off an Andrey Manov attempt from the point.
The Lumberjacks regrouped and regained the lead thanks to Klugerman at 10:31 when he jammed in a wraparound before Burns could get across to keep it out.
Battling back to force extra time, Gavin Rocha converted five minutes later as he slid in a shot short side on Dinsdale, from a sharp angle on the right side.
End-to-end action in the three-on-three OT eventually saw Shillinglaw win it for Hearst by blasting one into the bottom right corner, from between the hash marks, to cap-off the exciting contest.
The win helped Hearst conclude their regular season at 43-13-2-0 as they’ll now gear up for postseason action next week.
In picking up a point in the setback, the Beavers now sit at 41-11-3-2, with one more game to play Sunday, before heading into the playoffs.