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Lumberjacks win 2nd straight at NOJHL Showcase with close decision over Eagles

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – An Ethan Schmor marker on a partial breakaway with under four minutes remaining was the diference as the Hearst Lumberjacks won their second straight game at the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase at Big Bear Arena, with a narrow 4-3 decision over the Soo Eagles Wednesday afternoon.

A well-played opening frame was scoreless thanks in part to the solid goaltending of Liam Oxner of the Lumberjacks and the Eagles’ Ryan Gilmore.

Special teams contributed to both tallies that were notched in the middle session.

Dominic Dumas put Hearst on the board seven and a half minutes into the period.

Countering, Sault Ste Marie collected the equalizer at 12:47 when Blake Vaca buried his seventh of the season with help from Dominic Skrelja and Malik Ali to tie it at 1-1 after two.

Entering the third, the Lumberjacks pressed the pace and were rewarded with the go-ahead marker off the stick of Trystan Mughal as he jammed one in from close range.

Hearst then added some insurance with 3:53 remaining as Schmoor snagged a puck near his own blueline then outraced a couple of Soo defenders to the Eagles net where he beat Gilmore.

It turned out the Lumberjacks would need that marker as the Eagles came back 70 seconds later to pull back to within one as Jake Lamberty slammed in his third of the campaign.

The Soo then pulled Gilmore for an extra attacker after that, but Max Griffioen iced it for Hearst with an empty netter to round out the day’s scoring.

Shots on goal favoured the Eagles by a 35-33 margin with Oxner picking up the win while Gilmore suffered the narrow defeat.