VIDEO / GALLERY: Antoine hat trick lifts Red Wings over Rapids

Photos: Northern Exposures

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – Riding the strength of an Alex Antoine hat trick, the Elliot Lake Red Wings went on to defeat the French River Rapids 5-4 Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League get together at Centennial Arena.

A free-wheeling first frame saw each team tally twice during the opening half of the period.

Elliot Lake’s Matthew Shulist started the outburst by converting on an early power play as he tipped one past French River’s Cole Sheffield from the left side.

Answering while up a skater themselves, Griffin Simpson put the Rapids on the board as he neatly redirected a Chase Lefebvre drive from the point.

After Alexandre Dubuc put the visitors in front at 9:07 by burying a giveaway made by Red Wings’ starter Cameron Smith, the hosts stormed back with a trio of tallies to hit the intermission up by a pair.

That came after another French River goal was disallowed as it was deemed by the officials to have been directed in with a skate.

Antoine tied it right after that for Elliot Lake as he darted into the zone and snapped one in glove side.

On the power play with five minutes remaining in the first, Kaden Laverdiere put the Red Wings back on top as he had two whacks at a cross-crease pass before knocking it in.

Antoine then tacked on another on a wrap around to make it 4-2.

In the second stanza, Adam Boucher cut into the deficit at 4:36 as he put an attempt towards the net that clipped off a defender and bounced past Smith.

However, Antoine restored the two-goal cushion deep into the frame with his third of the night as he won a battle in the Rapids’ zone and buried his chance.

Moving to the third, a frenzied goal-mouth scramble with 30 seconds remaining helped French River pull to within one, with an extra attacker, and seeing Dominik Godin get credit for it.

The Rapids then tried to add one more and send it to extra time, but the Red Wings did not allow that to happen in picking up the home ice decision.

With the result, Elliot Lake improved to 11-26-1-0 and French River dropped to 19-20-1-0 on the season.