KIRKLAND LAKE – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners struck for four first period goals, but then had to withstand a furious comeback attempt by the Sudbury Nickel Barons late to salvage a 6-5 win Saturday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
Kirkland Lake had two on the board before the contest was three minutes old on efforts supplied by Joel Fortin and Ryan Aubertin.
Dylan Callaghan added one for Sudbury at the eight-minute mark of the first only to see Aubertin pot his second of the stanza 63 seconds later as he converted on a Gold Miners power play chance.
A couple shifts later Callaghan had another for the Nickel Barons as he successfully finished off a Sudbury man advantage opportunity at 11:10 picking up his 15th tally of the season.
The goals kept coming in the session as Kirkland Lake defenceman and NOJHL first team all-star Ethan Strong notched his 17th of the campaign a few shifts later.
It settled down for awhile after that with the lone marker of the middle session coming in the latter stages as Fortin buried his second of the evening at 18:47.
Chris Pearson tacked on one more for the Gold Miners seven minutes into the third while Callaghan started the Nickel Barons rally capping off a hat trick for the visitors at 13:36.
The power play then allowed the Nickel Barons to move closer with 2:16 remaining in regulation with Kyle Fransen finishing off the work Jacob Bonin and Ryan Mooney.
Sudbury kept coming and made it 6-5 with 65 seconds to go as Bonin brought his team closer with his 15th tally of the year.
Kirkland Lake did manage to hold on from there and escape with the decision.
Shots on goal in the contest favoured Kirkland Lake 26-22 with Josh Erickson picking up the victory and Jessie Morin the loss.
For Erickson, a first team NOJHL all-star selection, he finishes the regular season with a franchise record 24 wins to his credit having surpassed the 22 Kenny Fitzgerald had in 2013-14 for the Gold Miners.