Lumberjacks extend East Division lead with victory over Crunch

HEARST, Ont. – The Hearst Lumberjacks saw Jake Desando tally twice as he reached the 30-goal plateau on the season to help propel his side to a 5-2 win over the Cochrane Crunch in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Friday night in front of 828 fans at Claude Larose Arena.

It was the hometown Lumberjacks that kicked off the night’s scoring 14:09 in as defenceman J.J. Berdal knocked in his sixth tally of the campaign.

Hearst then added another before the first frame was complete with Daniel Fisher picking up his ninth at 17:17 to give them a 2-0 lead heading to the intermission.

Moving to the middle stanza, the Crunch cut into the deficit 53 seconds in thanks to a goal from Trent Grimshaw.

However, the Lumberjacks regained their cushion five minutes later when Dawson Waddell struck shorthanded as he picked up his seventh goal of 2018-19.

Back and forth they went from there to complete the period with Owen Perala bringing Cochrane back to within one at 14:35 only to see Hearst’s Desando answer that a couple shifts later while his club was down a skater to make it a 4-2 game after two periods of play.

Desando then added another near the midway mark of the third to round out the scoring as he became the second player in the league to notch 30 or more tallies on the campaign, joining Lucas Theriault of the Soo Thunderbirds, who has 35.

Mathew Eardley chipped in with a pair of assists to aid the Hearst offensive cause.

Shots on goal in the contest favoured the Crunch by a 28-27 margin with Nicholas Tallarico picking up the win.

Zach Wickson suffered the loss giving up the five against on 23 attempts while Bradley Dobson stopped all four attempts, he saw in nearly 11 minutes of relief.

With the outcome, Hearst improved to 31-15-6-1 on the season and extended their cushion atop the NOJHL East Division standings with 69 points.

In defeat, Cochrane remained at 63 points overall as their record slipped to 29-19-1-4.

Game Photos courtesy of  Highway Eleven &Co.