Photos: Marc Johnson
HEARST, Ont. – A Ryan Glazer breakaway goal, 3:44 into overtime, gave the Hearst Lumberjacks a thrilling 6-5 victory over the Timmins Rock Saturday in Game 3 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division Final in front of nearly 900 boisterous fans at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
With the win, the Lumberjacks now lead the best-of-series 2-1 heading into Game 4 Sunday afternoon, back in Hearst at 4 p.m.
Picking up the night’s first power play, Timmins opened the scoring five and a half minutes into the proceedings as Henry Brock scooped up the puck off a Cameron Dutkiewicz effort from the point and took it wide right and guided in a back hand past a diving Liam Oxner in the Hearst net.
Getting the equalizer on a similar play, the Lumberjacks drew level at 17:49 as Owen Porter fired one from up high that Rock starter Gavin McCarthy, could not quite control, which allowed Tyler Patterson to slam it into the open side for his third of the playoffs.
Getting that back with a late man advantage, the visitors added another while up a skater as Timmins captain Tyler Schwindt found himself free in close where he took a Harry Clark feed and made no mistake by whipping one by Oxner in the final minute of the session.
The Rock added to their lead midway through the contest, just after a power play they were on had expired, as Nicholas Frederick finished off some solid puck movement and a pass by Brock, on a play that Dutkiewicz kept in at the blueline.
With the intensity heating up, the play went end-to-end from there and saw the Lumberjacks pull back to within a goal at 14:53.
That marker came about when Raphael Lajeunesse skated down the right wing into Timmins territory where he fired a shot that McCarthy stopped, but saw a sliding Rock defender inadvertently knock it in.
Then on a two-man advantage, Hearst drew level as Lajeunesse hammered one from the top of the right circle that appeared to clip off the stick of Robbie Rutledge parked in front and sail into the top corner.
Up a couple of skaters themselves late in the period, Timmins regained the lead at 19:40 when Carson Cox moved in from the right point and whistled one upstairs on Oxner to make it 4-3 after 40 minutes.
In the third, the home side tied it half way through when Owen Power came hard down the right side, then pulled up and proceeded to wire one past McCarthy for his initial NOJHL playoff goal.
Breaking the deadlock yet again, the guests went up 5-4 at 11:29 when Dutkiewicz made a sharp feed up to Tyler Gilberds who zoomed through the Lumberjacks defence and cruised in before snapping one over the glove of Oxner.
However, it was more from Lajeunesse, with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, as he snagged a turnover just outside the Rock blueline, then skated hard down the left wing and forced his way towards the front of the net and kept going before sliding in yet another tying tally, much to the delight of the home town crowd.
The action-packed pace continued into overtime, where with the play deep in the Hearst zone, Glazer saw an opening and sped up-ice where a long pass found him and allowed him to go in alone and make a couple of quick dekes before ending up to his left, where he slid in the puck past the outstretched pad of McCarthy, for his second OT winner of the playoffs.
NOJHL East Division Final
Timmins Rock vs. Hearst Lumberjacks
Lumberjacks lead best-of-seven series 2-1
Game 1: Rock 6 Lumberjacks 1
Game 2: Lumberjacks 5 Rock 3
Game 3: Lumberjacks 6 Rock 5 (OT)
Game 4: Sunday, April 24 @ Hearst 4 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
Game 5: Monday, April 25 @ Timmins 7:30 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 6*: Wednesday, April 27 @ Hearst 7:30 p.m. (Claude Larose Recreation Centre)
Game 7*: Friday, April 29 @ Timmins 7:30 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)