Spencer’s hat trick helps Wildcats rally late to slip past Express

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats rallied from a one-goal deficit by tallying twice in the final six and a half minutes of regulation to pullout a 5-4 triumph over the Espanola Express Thursday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Centennial Arena.

The back and forth affair began with Nick Long putting the Wildcats in front at 4:07 of the first period only to see Espanola’s Tristan Poissant notch his first NOJHL goal just 36 seconds later to tie it at 1-1.

Elliot Lake did retake the lead before the frame was complete thanks to Evan Spencer at 14:56.

MacKenzie MacMillan’s initial marker of the season levelled the proceedings once again for the Express 4:26 into the middle stanza only to see Spencer strike on the power play just over two minutes later to give the home side their third lead of the evening.

Battling back again, Espanola drew level on Isaac Tkachuk’s first at 7:49 of the third before Josh Decoffe also supplied his first league goal midway through the session to put the Express up 4-3.

Up a skater, the Wildcats tied the game once more at 13:23 on Long’s second man advantage effort of the night.

That set the stage for Spencer to finish off his first NOJHL hat trick with four minutes to go, which also proved to be the game-winner.

He also helped set-up another Elliot Lake marker while line-mate Jacob Kelly doled out four assists in the victory.

Allan Menary made 25 stops to pick up the win for the Wildcats while Adam Scott was peppered with 51 shots in defeat for the Express.