Gerstein's shootout winner sends Miners to playoffs

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A Casey Gerstein marker in the final attempt of the shootout proved to be the difference as the KL Gold Miners earned a 2-1 decision over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians Sunday thus clinching a playoff spot and a date with the Cochrane Crunch.

This back and forth goaltender’s battle saw the Miners open the scoring late in the first period as Gerstein and Connor Van Weelie combined to set-up Cameron Neaylon for his 12th tally of the campaign at 18:16.

In the second period both Miners’ goalie Kyle McNair and Canadians’ netminder Nicholas Heinzle took over and kept the shooters from both sides at bay.

The score stayed 1-0 for Kirkland Lake deep into regulation when Rayside-Balfour netted the equalizer with 1:18 remaining during a power play and with Heinzle out for an extra attacker.

Skating three aside in overtime, the two clubs went end-to-end, trading quality chances, only to be foiled by the goalkeepers to send it to extra shots to decide a winner.

There Kyler Campbell of Kirkland Lake and Mitchell Martin both connected on the first chances of the shootout.

Then after three straight stops, Gerstein skated in with his opportunity and promptly snapped a quick shot into the right corner to cap off a perfect 3-0 weekend road trip for the Gold Miners.

Shots on net finished up 37-36 in favour of KL with McNair earning the triumph while Heinzle’s efforts helped his side earn a point in defeat as they suffered their first setback of 2020, as they have now gone 12-0-0-1 in the New Year.

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