Photos: Allyson Demers
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The French River Rapids rode the strength of three third period goals to pull out a 3-2 come from behind win over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Friday night in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
The hometown Gold Miners created a buzz in the building by picking up the night’s opening goal when Andronique Stepanian jumped into the play and shoveled a loose puck past Rapids’ netminder Matthew Perdue just over 16 minutes into the proceedings.
Heading to the second stanza, Stepanian added another, two and a half minutes in, as he made impressive dash into the French River zone, then darted around the net and into the slot where he ripped a shot by Perdue.
The visitors had an opportunity to cut into the deficit, but Matthew Hill was thwarted off a partial poke check by Kirkland Lake starter Ethan Barron, on a penalty shot.
Heading to the third period, the Rapids did begin their comeback when Hill went top shelf, short side, on Barron at 5:24.
They then tied it a couple of shifts later thanks to a fortunate bounce of the puck that hopped over the stick of the Gold Miners’ defenceman, which allowed Josh Boucher to dart in alone on a breakaway that he took to his right and tucked in a low back hand by the pad of Barron.
Finishing off their rally with 6:34 remaining in regulation, Jack Ginocchi flew into the zone at top speed and while making a move to the middle, ripped the game-winner into the top left hand corner to secure the road decision.
The win sees French River improve to 7-37-1-1 on the season while Kirkland Lake dropped to 5-38-1-0.