GALLERY: Veilleux hat trick part of Lumberjacks triumph over Vikings

Photos: Northern Lights Photography

HEARST, Ont. – A six-goal first period sent the Hearst Lumberjacks on their way to an eventual 8-3 triumph over the Elliot Lake Vikings Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.

The victory wraps up the second seed in the NOJHL East for the Lumberjacks and gives them home-ice advantage in their upcoming divisional semifinal versus the Powassan Voodoos.

An early power play helped Elliot Lake open the scoring with Nathan Marincola beating Hearst starting goaltender Tristan Boileau by stuffing in a loose puck off a Gavin McLenaghan rush to the net.

However, the Lumberjacks came right back to even the score 35 seconds later as DonHeaven Veilleux neatly redirected in a William Pâquet attempt from the left point, which eluded Vikings netminder Sam Keene.

The home side then went in front at 6:47 thanks to Adam Boucher whipping one in from up top for his fifth of the campaign.

Controlling a draw moments into another man advantage saw the guests draw level as Max Ciesielski converted from close range.

Retaking the lead midway through the frame, Hearst’s Jean-Pierre Audras sent a long-range wrister from just inside the blueline that sailed past a partially screened Keene.

A fourth in the session saw Max Gorzelnik fire a shot from the right circle to make it 4-2.

Continuing to click offensively, the Lumberjacks added two more late in a frame to go ahead by four after 20 minutes on a extra-man effort from Gorzelnik in close and Veilleux at even strength on a two-on-one against back-up Braydon Garnhart, who had entered in relief earlier in the period.

The Vikings got one back 12:44 into the second stanza when Owen Kahl pushed a play ahead off face off, which allowed David Parker to stuff in a backhand on a downed Boileau.

Moving to the final frame, Aiden Kalin collected his club’s seventh as he took a cross-ice pass from Jack Robinson and fired it in, via the power play, at 4:50.

Veilleux then finished off a hat trick by firing one into the top right hand corner, in the late going, to round out the scoring.

The win has Hearst improve to 35-16-4-2 on the season, and in defeat Elliot Lake drops to 5-46-1-4.