Josh Merson scored 22 seconds into overtime to give the North Bay Skyhawks a 2-1 victory over the Northern Michigan Black Bears Friday night in St. Ignace, Michigan.
Frank Desbiens scored the other Skyhawks goal early in the third period.
The Skyhawks will conclude their regular season schedule Saturday night as they take on the Soo Thunderbirds.
The win clinches first overall in the league and of course home ice advantage throughout the playoffs which begin Tuesday night.
The Skyhawks first round opponent will be the Sudbury Northern Wolves, who the Hawks beat four games to one last year in the NOJHL's Eastern Division final.
1. NM: John Nogatch (Ryan Murtaugh, Russell Law) 06:03 FG
Penalties: Frank Desbiens NB (RO) 07:54; Colin Sarfeh NM (RO) 07:54; Bill Brennan NM (RO) 09:16; John Nogatch NM (INT) 09:56; Stephane Belanger NB (RO) 16:47; Bryan Pearse NM (RO) 16:47; Ian Carlson NB (RO) 16:48; Chris Kraft NM (RO) 16:48; Dustin McCrank NB (FI) 16:59; Joel Rechlicz NM (FI) 16:59; Bench NB (TMM) 18:44;
Penalties: John Nogatch NM (ELB) 05:22; David Frawley NB (SL) 11:53; Bill Brennan NM (HKG) 18:36; John Nogatch NM (INT) 19:50; Marc-Andre Rizk NB (RO) 19:57; Mike Herbert NM (RO) 19:57;
2. NB: Frank Desbiens (Quinn Waller, David Frawley) 04:54
Penalties: Ian Carlson NB (RO) 07:30; Nick Adamek NM (RO) 07:30; Jon Ryan NB (INT) 11:51; David Cappadocia NB (RO) 14:56; Ryan Huggett NM (RO) 14:56;
3. NB: Josh Merson (David Cappadocia, Chase Gallacher) 00:22 GW
with files from www.NOJHL.com