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Wild finish sees Wildcats claw past Canadians in OT

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. – After allowing the Rayside-Balfour Canadians rally for two goals in the late going to force overtime, the Elliot Lake Wildcats regrouped to pull out a 5-4 victory in extra time Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Centennial Arena.

Elliot Lake opened the scoring 5:55 in as William Bucsis picked up this 15th of the year with help from Brett Crook and Jacob Kelly.

Rayside-Balfour got that back midway through the first period thanks to Matthew Neault who reached the 20-goal plateau for his club.

A second period power play helped the Wildcats go back in front with Josh Bifolchi connecting on the man advantage at 9:01.

Kelly’s 33rd, coming at 18:31, then gave the home side a two-goal edge heading into the third.

Jacob Partridge brought the Canadians closer 5:16 into that frame only too see Nick Long restore the margin just over a minute later.

Undaunted the visitors kept coming and made it 4-3 at 18:29 thanks to Christian Gaudreau then added the equalizer with 34 seconds remaining in regulation on a Gabriel Rheault effort.

Moving on to OT, Elliot Lake regrouped with Crook capping off a wild finish early to help Elliot Lake pull out the decision as they extended a winning streak to six in succession with the result.

Logan Sawka saw 56 shots fired his way in earning the decision for the Wildcats while Brayden Lachance’s 37 saves helped his team earn a point in the OT defeat.