Photos: Marc-André Longval
HEARST, Ont. – Hearst product Mathieu Comeau tallied three times and added an assist for his hometown side to help lead his club to a 7-5 decision over the Cochrane Crunch Wednesday in a high-scoring Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
Down a skater past the halfway mark of the first, Cochrane’s Jake Alton forced a turnover in the neutral zone which allowed teammate Benjamin Orgil to skate in alone where he neatly tucked an attempt between the legs of Hearst goaltender Matteo Gennaro.
The Lumberjacks came back before the period came to a close thanks to Comeau sliding in a backhand from the top of the crease during a flurry of activity in front of Crunch netminder Michael Nickolau.
Some nice puck movement helped the hosts go in front early in the second stanza and Comeau clicked on a two-man advantage by sliding a low attempt through the legs of Nickolau.
Still up a skater, Hearst made it 3-1 compliments of Riley Klugerman who was left with a tap in off a nice cross-crease feed from Zachary Demers.
They kept coming and added another as Demers stuffed in a rebound from close range.
Despite being shorthanded late in the second, the hosts made it 5-1 in the final minute thanks to Raphael Lajeunesse jamming one in off a Demers feed from along the boards.
The goals kept coming in the third, as the teams struck three times apiece in the session.
After Cochrane’s Liam Boswell darted down the left wing and scored on a breakaway at 2:36, Hearst’s Alex Hunt came right back moments later by putting one in from the high slot after a couple of point-blank stops by Nickolau after that.
The tally parade continued as four more markers were provided, including a trio by the Crunch, before time expired.
Orgil had two of them, sandwiched around’s Comeau’s third of the night, to finish off his first NOJHL hat trick, while Matteo Peca rounded out the scoring for Cochrane in the final minute.
Gennaro had 23 saves in picking up the win for the Lumberjacks while Nickolau was peppered with 58 attempts against in defeat.