Cameron Clark collected the game-winner 9:50 into overtime as the Hearst Lumberjacks pulled out a 4-3 decision over the Powassan Voodoos Saturday in Game 1 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division Final in front of 925 fans at Claude Larose Arena.
It is the second OT loss in the past three playoff games for the Voodoos.
The Voodoos leading point-getter in the playoffs, in defenceman Cameron Moore, put the visitors in front 2:50 into the contest as his attempt from the left blueline found its way through a screen past Hearst netminder Nicholas Tallarico as the Powassan blueliner ran a point streak to four with the marker.
It was Blaise Arkle who answered for the Lumberjacks at 8:18 as he took a J.J. Berdal pass then darted in and around the net catching the Voodoos’ Joe Vrbetic off his post as he stuffed in his second of the playoffs on a wraparound.
Powassan regained the lead late in the first though as Max Newnam backhanded one from near the end boards right in front where Mathew Hardwick quickly one-timed in his initial NOJHL playoff marker at 17:01.
Hearst countered once more as Garett Giertuga skated in and fired an attempt towards the net that caromed off the skate of a Voodoos defenceman, changed direction and skipped past Vrbetic at 7:41 of the middle session.
The two sides continued to go back and forth with Powassan capitalizing on a bounce of their own during a power play as Jacob Peterson-Galema lifted one from the point that hit a body in front and deflected in with Gabinien Kioki getting credit for the marker at 15:56 as the guests carried a 3-2 lead into the third.
Heading into that stanza, and skating for his hometown side, Hearst’s Sebastien Doucet was setup in the slot and made no mistake, going top shelf at 3:55, for his first NOJHL playoff goal to tie things up once more and help force extra time.
Half way through the first OT, Clark corralled the puck on the right side, came in and outwaited Vrbetic before lifting the game-winner into the top right hand corner to end it.
Berdal dished out two assists for the Lumberjacks while Newnam and Seiji Martone did likewise for the Voodoos.
The contest saw Tallarico make 33 saves to record his fourth straight playoff victory while Vrbetic stopped 34 in defeat.
Game 2 goes Sunday at 7 p.m. back in Hearst. Games three and four are back in Powassan on Wednesday and Thursday.
All NOJHL playoff games are streamed online at HockeyTV.com.