Hearst heads home happy

Randy Russon
April 14, 2019

Motivated by multiple mammoth saves by goalie Nick Tallarico early on and when the score was close, Hearst Lumberjacks eventually hustled their way to a 7-3 road decision over the Soo Thunderbirds tonight.

The Game 2 win by Hearst over the Soo evened the best-of-seven, Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship series at 1-1. The Thunderbirds took Game 1 on Saturday by a 3-2 margin,

The series now shifts to Hearst for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Thursday of this week in back-to-back 7 p.m. starts at Claude Larose Arena.

In today’s match that tied the series, Hearst took a 2-0 lead before the Soo scored a shorthanded marker and then took complete control of the game for several minutes only to be repeatedly thwarted by the goal-tending of Tallarico.

Tallarico wasn’t the only standout for the Lumberjacks, though.

Forwards Max Johnson, Max Griffioen and Brad Golant and defenseman Troy Daniels also stood out before a crowd of spectators at John Rhodes Community Centre that included more than 60 faithful followers who made the trek from Hearst to the Soo and showed up dressed in jerseys and hoodies in support of their team.

For the Thunderbirds, forward Nick Smith was a going concern throughout the game — even strength, on the power play and on the penalty kill — while defenseman Steven Bellini also turned in an assertive effort.

Hearst coach-general manager Marc Lafleur was satisfied to head home with a split from Games and 1 and 2 against the no. 1 seed Soo.

“We are happy to have the split but we also know it is only one win for us and there are  three extremely tough more games for us to try to win,” Lafleur told Hockey News North. “The T-Birds were the league’s top team for a reason and we know we are in for a battle ahead.”

What you think about “Hearst heads home happy”

  1. How many people went to these two games? This is a meeting of two very good teams, if the T-Birds would like a good place to play Hockey and feel the push of an adoring crowd and the help of a few ghosts the Igloo would welcome the move. I have always loved the relentless play after play they bring to the rink. The igloo gets more fans than this on a -30 January night to watch Midget Hockey on a Tuesday night. I have to remark that knowing that more that 1% of the Community of Hearst went to cheer on their team only makes me happier. It is no secret that I want a team back in Iroquois Falls. I have always thought that Hearst is the perfect place for this level of Hockey and to watch my team go there was like sending your kid off to school. I can see that the fans in Hearst have not disappointed. Now they know what I have known and happily paid into. There is a place for Hockey to be played and let’s light it up and sing our National Anthem and spend a few hours living the best drama fit for a Winter’s night. I want to be at the Jacks/T-Birds games enough to miss work and sleep in my truck. Convinced? I am not alone.

  2. …the league knew what they were doing….going to Hearst…..nice to see a small community support their team……those US kids wanted to experience Canadian hockey…they must be over the moon….

  3. Firstly to John, the Eskies were a great franchise and when private ownership was looking to sell Hearst was happy to get a team with solid roots and as history goes the Eskies back in time was a good landing spot for many Hearst players graduating from the midget ranks. There are good people pushing to bring back Jr. A hockey to the Falls and I wouldn’t bet against them and as I understand it there are already over 200 commits to season tickets if and when they can entice an owner to take a chance on them. There is a lot of hockey left to be played in the Falls.
    And secondly to Barclay…..you are right the American kids are at home in Hearst and despite distance as being a factor the pros far out weigh the cons…….

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