COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch used the strength of a four-goal second period before withstanding a Hearst Lumberjacks comeback bid late before prevailing 6-3 Sunday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Tim Horton Event Centre.
The Crunch connected early in this one to grab a quick lead on the Lumberjacks as Laramie Kostelansky notched his fifth goal since joining Cochrane as he found the back of the net 1:36 after the opening face-off.
Things tightened up defensively from there as it stayed 1-0 until Kyle Herbster supplied his 21st tally of the season at 7:39 of the second period.
However after that marker, the Crunch blew it open by striking three more times before the session was complete to put them up by five after 40 minutes.
They first saw Caleb Dolman and Auston Stauffer’s NOJHL-best 27th connect in rapid succession before T.J. Delaney’s eighth of the year with 53 seconds left added to the outburst as he scored during a late power play chance.
Hearst did break Cochrane starter Shayne Battler’s shutout bid with 8:14 to go in the game thanks to Max Griffioen’s 11th tally with the Lumberjacks.
The Lumberjacks continued to work their way back into the contest getting two more in the latter stages of the match-up thanks to Alec Johnson’s eighth during a power play at 16:10 and Morgan Scriber’s fifth with just over a minute to go.
They then pulled Matt Kustra in an effort to move even closer, but it was Herbster who helped finalize the decision for Cochrane as he put in an empty netter with 33 seconds to go to wrap things up.
Shots on goal on the night favoured the Lumberjacks by a 38-36 margin with Battler picking up the win and Kustra the loss.
With the result, Cochrane is now 22-11-2-1 overall while first-year Hearst fell to 13-16-2-0.
The two teams are now off until the New Year when the Crunch entertain the Timmins Rock on January 4th while the Lumberjacks welcome the French River Rapids to Claude Larose Arena on January 6th.