ESPANOLA, Ont. – The Greater Sudbury Cubs saw Samuel Assinewai supply his first Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League hat trick Friday as part of a 5-3 decision versus the Espanola Paper Kings in a match-up held at the Regional Recreation Complex.
After a draw in their own zone, Greater Sudbury countered quickly and saw Cameron Shanks send Assinewai in alone on Espanola netminder Jake Marois and neatly tuck a backhand in his legs.
The league-leading Cubs came right back and added another on the next shift with Assinewai taking a play across the crease before eventually swatting it in from the left side.
Battling back, the Paper Kings answered with two of their own to knot the affair at 2-2 after one.
Their initial came about after Atley Gringorten kept a play in the Greater Sudbury end then fed a pass across to Cayden Kowal, who chipped it over goaltender Noah Metivier.
Then then tied it in the final minute of the frame with Blake Peters-Davey hitting the ice on a line change, then being sent in alone on a breakaway where he cut to his right and lifted in a rising backhand for his 11th goal of the season.
Action in the second stanza saw the Cubs retake the lead during a power play as Oliver Smith sent a cross-ice feed across over to Assinewai who guided it in to hit his hat trick.
Cameron Walker converted from close range, early in the third, to put the guests back up two, before Nicolas Saucier brought the hosts back to within one midway through the session as he supplied another breakaway marker for Espanola.
The Cubs held on from there though, with Smith sinking one into an empty net, off a solid forecheck in the late going, to wrap-up the road victory.
With the result, first place Greater Sudbury takes their fourth straight and move to 22-6-0-0 overall.
In defeat, the Paper Kings fall to 16-10-0-0.