COCHRANE, Ont. – Zachary Frescura’s second goal of the game, coming nearly six minutes into overtime, was the difference as the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners rallied from a two-tally third period deficit to defeat the Cochrane Crunch 4-3 Thursday night in a physical Game 1 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division quarter-final match-up at Tim Horton Events Centre.
The two teams will now head to Kirkland Lake for Game 2, which goes Friday and features a 7:30 p.m. start at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
Thursday’s tilt saw Cochrane collect the lone tally of the first frame when Billy Paschen connected at 11:19 with help from Jordan Fielding and J.P. Moreira.
Battling back, Kirkland Lake drew level just past the three-minute mark of the second stanza with the clubs skating four-on-four as Camille Marcoux got the equalizer as he neatly redirected a Lucas Branch attempt from the right point.
Going to the power play, the Crunch went back on top a few minutes later as Fielding made a perfect cross-ice pass right to Paschen, who promptly went upstairs on a sprawling Kohl Reddy, who had no chance on the play.
The duo also clicked again at 11:47 with Fielding firing a shot from a sharp angle along the left side that sailed into the net to put the hosts up 3-1 heading into the second intermission.
In the third though, Caleb Thompson brought the guests back to within one at 2:30 before Frescura forced extra time with 8:27 left in regulation.
Moving to OT, the Gold Miners capped off the comeback when Frescura finished off a Lucas Renzoni set-up for a second straight marker to give the visitors the Game 1 victory.
Reddy made 41 saves to record the road decision for Kirkland Lake while Cochrane’s Zach Wickson made 43 stops in defeat.
East Division quarter-final series
No. 4 Cochrane Crunch vs. No. 5 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Gold Miners lead best-of-three series 1-0
Game 1: Gold Miners 4 Crunch 3 (OT)
Game 2: Friday, March 6 @ Kirkland Lake 7:30 p.m. (Joe Mavrinac Community Complex)
Game 3*: Sunday, March 8 @ Cochrane 4 p.m. (Tim Horton Events Centre)
*- if necessary