An Alex Little man advantage marker, just over four minutes into the second period, held up as the game-winner as the Powassan Voodoos collected a 4-3 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks Sunday night in Game 2 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
Hearst needed just nine seconds to open the night’s scoring when an Adam Shillinglaw pass sent Riley Klugerman darting around a Powassan defender down the right wing where he drove to the net and fired a shot high over the glove of Voodoos’ starter Kannon Flageolle.
Answering back just over three minutes later, the visitors tied it when Cameron Lemcke picked off a clearing attempt and the Lumberjacks blueline and went in alone where he made a deke to his left and fired it past netminder Ethan Dinsdale.
Powassan came right back a couple of shifts later and took the lead as Chase Strychaluk controlled the puck along the end boards and sent a feed in front that was promptly buried by Rhys Smetham as 5:43.
Adding another past the midway mark of the first period, the Voodoos made it 3-1 as Strychaluk put a play ahead to Nicholas Liotino, who sent a cross-crease pass over to Smetham and saw him steer in his second in short order.
Staying that way into the middle session, the guests went up by three after catching the shorthanded home side on a ill-timed change, which allowed Little to skate in alone and snap a shot over the blocker of Dinsdale for a man advantage effort.
Up a skater themselves, Hearst got back to within two after Mason Svarich set-up Andrew Morton between the circles where he blasted a one-timer that flew by Flageolle with half a game still to play.
Getting another before the end of the period, Jett Mintenko went in on a shorthanded break, where he moved to his right and saw the Hearst rookie lift in a backhand at 15:21.
In the third, the score remained the same despite the Lumberjacks pulling their goalkeeper in the late going for an extra attacker as they pushed hard for an equalizer in an effort to force overtime.
However, the Voodoos held firm to secure the road decision and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven match-up and send them back home for Game 3 Tuesday in a 7 p.m. start at the Powassan Sportsplex and on HockeyTV.com.