The Kirkland Gold Miners and Powassan Voodoos tangled in a close battle at the Sportsplex on Wednesday night with the Voodoos digging out the 4-3 victory thanks to some late heroics by Voodoos forward Jake Staples to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the East Division Semi-Finals series.
It was a slow start to Game 4 in what turned out to be a penalty-filled first period for both squads.
The Voodoos drew first blood midway through the opening frame after Captain Aaron Sullivan executed a textbook dump and chase maneuver with line-mate Aaron Dart, who finished off the play with his 2nd of the playoffs.
The Gold Miners tied it up just a minute later, however, after a Jamey Lauzon shot handcuffed Voodoos Goaltender Matt Young with Kirkland Lake forward Charles Bruneau buried the rebound for his 1st tally of the post-season.
Powassan would retake the lead on the power-play soon after with forward Jake Staples notching his 4th goal on a lucky bounce from the point to make it 2-1.
“Games like this just prove you have to play a full 60 minutes if you want to win,” said Staples, who is tied for the team lead in post-season goals and points.
“I always want to play defense first because if our line is getting scored on then we aren’t doing anything good for the team so it feels nice to be in the plus and score a big goal to put us up 3-1 in the series. We can’t let our foot off the gas in Game 5 though.”
Kirkland Lake eventually squared things up on the scoreboard with Lauzon beating Young on a rebound chance after Powassan took one of its six penalties in the period.
The two teams traded goals in the second with Battalion prospect David Sherman sniping his 5th marker of the playoffs for Powassan on the man-advantage to make it 3-2.
The lead was short-lived though as Kirkland Lake’s Ryan Auberton beat Young with a quick shot just 30 seconds later to tie the game once again.
A packed crowd of 360 people in attendance at the Sportsplex watched eagerly as a tense third period saw no scoring for the majority of the final frame.
Powassan’s last shot of the game would be its biggest, however, as Voodoos Defenceman Bo Peltier opened up the Kirkland Lake blue-line with a flawless stretch-pass right on the tape of team-mate Jake Staples, who made no mistake on the breakaway as he beat Gold Miners net-minder Josh Erickson to restore the lead with less than 2 minutes remaining.
The Voodoos would hold on for the win to take an impressive 3-1 lead over the Gold Miners in the best-of-seven series as they outshot Kirkland Lake 28-26 in the victory.
The Voodoos will now have a chance to eliminate the Gold Miners as the two face-off for Game 5 back in Kirkland Lake on Friday. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Joe Mavrinac Community Centre.