Photos: Jeremy Seguin
FRENCH RIVER – The Hearst Lumberjacks picked up a hat trick from Mason Svarich to help them skate to a 7-4 victory over a persistent French River Rapids squad in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair Saturday night at Noelville Arena.
The Rapids would strike first in the contest as Abram Snider would beat Lumberjacks starter Ethan Dinsdale 4:25 into the match-up as he banged in a rebound off a Josh Russell breakaway attempt that flew off the glass and bounced back in front.
Hearst would answer though with two tallies to take the lead by the half-way mark of the opening frame.
Mintenko tied it at 7:16 after taking a drop-pass from Mason Bazaluk and snapping a shot that beat French River netminder Brady Dyer.
The visitors then went in front thanks to Tyler Bortkiewicz, went to the net and tucked in a backhand.
Second period play saw both teams convert twice in the first half of the session.
After Svarich made it 3-1 Lumberjacks by putting a low wrist shot through the legs of Dyer, Jordan Bax got that back by finishing off a crisp cross-ice feed by Adam Boucher.
Continuing to get goals, Svarich picked up another in the frame with a bank in that came off the end boards.
French River answered once more thanks to Alexander Dubuc, as he went top shelf from close range on Dinsdale.
Adding some insurance in the third, the Lumberjacks’ Brayden Palfi found himself free in the slot and was eventually allowed to whip one in from the slot, with bodies piled up in front.
Pulling back to within one, after killing off a two-man disadvantage, Josh Russell’s 13th of the season came as he pinched in from the left point and cranked a high shot past Dinsdale with 11:18 remaining in regulation.
Helping put the game away, in the late going, Tyler Patterson darted out on a two-on-one where he elected to shoot and deposited his 21st of the season in his 100th NOJHL contest.
Svarich then capped off his three-goal night just before time expired with a last-second empty netter while spinning on his knees.