SUDBURY – An impressive goaltending duel from Kevin Labelle of the Sudbury Nickel Barons and A.J. Smith of the Elliot Lake Wildcats resulted in the first tie of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League season Wednesday night at McClelland Arena as the two sides skated to a 1-1 double overtime draw.
The visiting Wildcats opened the scoring at 14:21 of the first period as recently acquired Kevin Miller notched his initial tally in an Elliot Lake uniform.
Sudbury countered with the equalizer, via the power play, two minutes later as Nickel Barons captain Jacob Bonin supplied his seventh of the campaign.
August Jarecki picked up one of the assists on Bonin’s marker to extend a consecutive game point streak to five. He also has points in 11 of his past 12 outings.
After that both goaltenders shut the door the rest of the way making multiple saves that resulted in the first tie in league play since Feb. 21 of last season when the visiting Soo Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners skated to a 3-3 decision.
Labelle was outstanding in the Sudbury net making 56 saves on the night while Smith was equally as solid turning aside 37of the 38 shots he faced.
With the result the Nickel Barons record went to 13-4-1-2 and the Wildcats moved to 12-6-1-0.
NOJHL NOTE – With the NOJHL set to compete in this weekend’s Central Canada Cup Challenge in Toronto, a pair of league games originally slated Friday and Saturday have been postponed.
Friday’s Blind River and Sault Ste. Marie contest will be made up at a later date and will be announced once finalized.
Also Saturday’s match-up between Blind River and Elliot Lake will now be played Sunday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Blind River Community Centre.