NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
Rivermen win home opener while Gold Miners and Bobcats also victorious
SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League saw the Espanola Rivermen skate in their first-ever home opener Friday and come away with a 5-4 victory over the Sudbury Nickel Barons while other action this evening saw the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners drop the Blind River Beavers 8-1 and the Elliot Lake Bobcats stop the Soo Thunderbirds 5-2.
ESPANOLA RIVERMEN 5 SUDBURY NICKEL BARONS 4 – A Brennen Dubchak shorthanded goal midway through the third period proved to be the winner as Espanola was victorious in their home opener in a jam-packed Regional Recreation Complex.
Cray Roberge opened the scoring for the Rivermen in dramatic style scoring on a first period penalty shot for the only marker of the session.
The two sides then traded tallies in the middle stanza with Duane Wainman connecting for Espanola and Bradley Bell connecting for the Nickel Barons.
An action-packed third saw each team score three times and Rivermen thwart Sudbury on a late penalty shot attempt to pull out the victory.
After Nevada Waindubence, Corbin Bean and Dubchak all struck before the midway mark of the period to put Espanola up 5-1, the Nickel Barons stormed back with three of their own five minutes apart in the late going with a pair from Ryan Punkari and a solo effort courtesy of August Jarecki with 2:50 to go to really make it interesting.
Sudbury then had a chance to notch the equalizer with a minute and 22 seconds to go as Bell was hauled down going in on net and was awarded the second penalty shot of the night.
However Griffin Strain was equal to the task in the Rivermen making the save helping his club pull out the win in their home debut.
Shots on goal were 33-31 in favour of Sudbury with Griffin earning the triumph and Michael Muzyka suffering the setback.
KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS 8 BLIND RIVER BEAVERS 1 – Austin Rust scored four times while teammates Steven Babin and Everett Thompson also had four-point nights as the Gold Miners buried the Beavers at “The Joe.”
Kirkland Lake took a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes getting goals from Rust and Tanner Lafrance sandwiched around a Matthew Neault marker for Blind River.
It was all home side after that as they erupted for four goals in the middle session, including three more by Rust and a solo tally from Thompson.
The Gold Miners tacked on two more in the third to finish things off as Mathieu Lecompte and Jake Zarzycki got into the act.
Kenny Fitzgerald made 13 saves in picking up the win for Kirkland Lake who fired 35 shots on Blind River starter Braedon Turco.
ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 5 SOO THUNDERBIRDS 2 – Etienne Roy faced 42 shots in backstopping the Bobcats to the triumph over the Thunderbirds at Centennial Arena.
Ryan Fletcher had the lone goal of the opening period to give Elliot Lake a lead they would never relinquish.
Quick tallies in the second stanza by Brett Wagner and Brad Holman made it a 3-0 game before Sault Ste. Marie got on the board with a power play marker from Daniel Pyymaki at 16:30 of the session.
The Bobcats answered right back however just over a minute later thanks to Jacob Irwin to restore the Elliot Lake cushion.
Each side would notch man advantage efforts in the third to wrap things up offensively with Joey Miller striking for the T-Birds and Damon Reeves coming through for the Bobcats.
Joel Horodziejczyk saw 35 pucks in a losing cause for the Sault.
NOJHL action resumes Saturday as Abitibi hosts Blind River while North Bay travels to Elliot Lake in a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts.