NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Friday, April 18, 2014
Gold Miners win away from NOJHL title
KIRKLAND LAKE – Austin Rust notched his second game-winning goal in as many nights, this one coming with 6:29 remaining as the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners defeated the Soo Thunderbirds 4-1 Friday night in game 4 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Copeland Cup – McNamara trophy final at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
With the win Kirkland Lake now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 with game 5 going Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. as Essar Centre as the Thunderbirds attempt to stave off elimination while the Gold Miners go in search of the third first-ever NOJHL crown.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, a red-hot Steven Babin got the home side on the board midway through the contest as he ran a consecutive game playoff point streak to an even dozen as he beat Sault Ste. Marie starter Joel Horodziejczyk for the only marker of the middle session.
The Thunderbirds tied it 1:54 into the final frame as Medric Mercier struck on the power play and supplied his third tally of the playoffs.
Rust then fired home the eventual difference maker at 13:31 as he put his side in front for good picking up his league-leading fourth game-winner of the playoffs.
Everett Thompson added some insurance three and half minutes later while Damon MacEachern iced with an empty netter in the final minute.
Jeremy Pominville picked up the win for the Gold Miners as he improved to 10-1 in the postseason.
The NOJHL winner will advance to represent the league at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship April 29 through May 3 in Wellington, Ont.
They will join the title holders from the Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League along with the host Wellington Dukes (OJHL) at the five-day event.
In the OJHL final the Aurora Tigers forced a sixth game in their best-of-seven vs. the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots with a narrow 1-0 decision Friday evening.
Up 3-2 Toronto Lakeshore will have an opportunity to wrap-up the title Sunday at home.
As for the SIJHL league championship, the Fort Frances Lakers face a must-win Saturday at they host the Minnesota Iron Rangers as they trail the Bill Salonen Cup final 3-1.
NOJHL final for the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy
Soo Thunderbirds vs. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Gold Miners lead best-of-seven series 3-1
Game 1: Soo 2 Kirkland Lake 1 (2 OT)
Game 2: Kirkland Lake 5 Soo 3
Game 3: Kirkland Lake 4 Soo 3 (OT)
Game 4: Kirkland Lake 4 Soo 1
Game 5: Sunday, April 20 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
Game 6*: Tuesday, April 22 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac C.C.)
Game 7*: Thursday, April 24 @ Soo 7:30 p.m. (Essar Centre)
* – if necessary