HEARST, Ont. – Spencer Silver scored two goals to give the Hearst Lumberjacks a solid lead, but then had to hold off a French River Rapids rally before skating to a 6-5 win Saturday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Claude Larose Arena.
It was the hosts that had early advantage of the contest with Bradley Golant connecting eight minutes into the match-up before Silver picked up his first of the evening with just two seconds to go in the session.
Gregory Trudeau-Paquet brought the Rapids to within one at 8:19 of the second only to see Max Johnson answer that for the Lumberjacks a mere seven seconds later.
Samuel Bourdages added another for Hearst later in the period to put them up 4-1 through 40 minutes.
A free-wheeling final frame saw the two clubs compile six goals to make it interesting.
Trudeau-Paquet’s league-leading 14th early into the third trimmed the deficit, but Silver and Alec Johnson both found the back of the net to put the Lumberjacks seemingly in control.
However, French River stormed back with a trio of tallies in under three minutes to make it close with Connor Loft, Levi Siau and Trudeau-Paquet again as he finished off a hat trick and upped his NOJHL-best tally total to 15 with still nine minutes left in regulation.
Looking for the equalizer the Rapids could not get another as Hearst tightened up defensively from there to pick-up the win.
Johnson and Austin Anselmo dished out two assists apiece to aid the Lumberjacks cause.
Artem Bortovskiy started for Hearst and picked up the win saving 21 of 26 while Nicholas Dube handled six of six in late relief.
Spencer Eschyshcyn got the nod to begin the game and stopped 21 of 25 for the Rapids, but was replaced by Jean-Marc Brisson following the fourth French River marker who suffered the loss giving up two on 10 attempts.