Auger’s game-winner leads North Stars past Miners in OT

COCHENOUR, Ont. – Kyle Auger’s coast-to-coast rush in overtime resulted in him supplying the game-winner as the Thunder Bay North Stars skated past the English River Miners 5-4 Friday in Superior International Junior Hockey League action at Cochenour Arena.

Thunder Bay was quick to open the night’s scoring as Jake Behse connected just 29 seconds after the opening face-off.

However the Miners came right back with the equalizer as Nic Herringer tied it less than a minute later during a man advantage opportunity.

The North Stars regained the lead later in the frame on a Joe Newhouse power play effort, but English River countered once more in rapid succession on a Sam Cirone marker.

It continued going back and forth as the visitors went back on top once more with Keighan Gerrie notching his 23rd of the campaign at 11:01 to spell the end of Miners’ starter Westin Cardwell’s night in favour of Lenko.

Heading into the middle stanza, Thunder Bay went up by a pair when Alexander Irwin scored for a 10th time in the campaign.

Pulling back to within one, the Miners converted while up a man as Jacob Siebenga beat North Stars’ netminder Dougie Newhouse for his 18th on the year.

Herringer then added another with a half-minute left in the session to send the clubs to intermission knotted at four.

Thunder Bay opted to replace goalkeeper Newhouse in favour of Brandon Bodnar to begin the third which was scoreless.

Skating three aside in extra session, Auger supplied his sixth deciding tally since joining the club as he darted nearly the length of the ice before cutting left and whipping the winner from the face-off circle past Lenko at 1:30 to end it.

Troy Sherman had a couple of assists for the North Stars as did Spencer Milne for English River.

Bodnar picked up the win in relief handling just five chances while Lenko allowed two on 40 chances in defeat but helping his club pick-up a point.

Photo credit: Patrick Boucha