KIRKLAND LAKE – Tanner Lafrance’s goal 1:58 into the first overtime period lifted the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners to a 5-4 win over the Abitibi Eskimos in the first game of an NOJHL home-and-home series Friday night.
The Eskimos Ryan Wildman had sent the game to extra time when he beat Kirkland Lake goaltender Marc Audit with 1:37 to play in the third period.
The Eskimos drew first blood in the game when Zach Innes beat Audit early in the second period of play, after the two sides had skated through a scoreless opening frame.
Ethan Strong got the Gold Miners on the board just over two minutes later when he put a shot past Eskimos goalie Jeremy Laux.
The two teams skated to the dressing room after the second period deadlocked at 1-1.
There was no shortage of scoring in the third period, however, with Kirkland Lake jumping out to a 3-1 lead on goals by Kyle Bishop and Jean-Francois Sylvestre.
The Eskimos battled right back to tie the score at 3-3, however, on goals by Aaron Kerr and Nick Fountain.
Jean-Michel Naud put the Gold Miners in front 4-3 when he scored with just over five minutes to play, setting the stage for Wildman’s goal.
Audet stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced to pick up the victory, while Laux made 36 saves on the evening.
The Eskimos failed to score in three attempts on the power play, while the Gold Miners netted one goal in five opportunities.
Kirkland Lake took 37 minutes in penalties, while the Eskimos were assessed 31 minutes in the sin bin.
Eskimos defenceman Cody Parker and Alex Perrault of the Gold Miners were each ejected from the game following a second-period fight.
The two sides will have an opportunity to resume their rivalry Saturday night when the play the second game of the home-and-home series at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.