GALLERY: Wildcats survive late Hearst rally to end winless drought

HEARST, Ont. – The Elliot Lake Wildcats let a late three-goal lead slip away in regulation before rebounding early in overtime to edge the Hearst Lumberjacks 4-3 Friday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Claude Larose Arena.

Hearst pressed the pace in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting Elliot Lake 13-6 in the frame, but neither netminder, in the Wildcats’ Logan Sawka and the Lumberjacks’ Nicholas Dube would budge in a scoreless session.

The Wildcats did break the ice 11:29 into the middle stanza as David Dedo notched his fifth goal of the season to put the visitors in front with a lead that carries over to the third period.

A frantic third saw Elliot notch early power play markers from Evan Spencer and Jacob Kelly to put them up 3-0 with 17 minutes left in the frame.

Despite being down, Hearst was relentless in the period firing 25 shots on net in the period and finally solved Sawka at 15:24 on a Maxim Lacroix effort.

Building on the momentum, the Lumberjacks added another with 93 seconds left to pull within one as Colin Boudreau picked up his third goal of the season.

They then came back again and notched the equalizer on the next shift as Alec Johnson’s seventh forced extra time.

However, in OT, Elliot Lake managed to regroup and win it on Spencer’s second of the evening and 14th overall, 51 seconds in to put an end to the furious finish.

Wildcats’ defenceman Dawson Garcia and Lumberjacks’ forward Shadow Reuben had two assists each for their respective clubs.

Sawka finished up with 52 saves to record the win while Dube made 23 stops helping Hearst salvage a point on the night.

The victory puts an end to a lengthy Elliot Lake losing streak that had reached eight games as they picked up a much-needed win.

Photos courtesy of Jimmy Cote Photography