Photos: Northern Lights Photography
HEARST, Ont. – The Hearst Lumberjacks built themselves an early edge and went on to humble the Cochrane Crunch 16-1 Thursday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
Putting the game out of reach from the onset, Hearst found themselves up 4-0 before the contest was 12 minutes in and never looked back.
Noah Janicki began the rapid outburst at 1:52 when he jammed one under the glove of Cochrane starter Marcus Ouellet, that was initiated by the power move down the right wing from Andrew Morton.
After picking up the night’s initial power play, Emile Pichette slammed in his 30th of the campaign, by connecting from the left circle.
Pichette then potted another at 6:31 with an even strength effort as he picked the bottom left corner off a Riley Klugerman feed from behind the net.
A fourth goal for the home side was then provided off the stick of Morton as he stuffed one into the open side on Ouellet after some nice passing from Zachary Demers and Tyler Patterson.
Carrying their cushion into the middle session, the Lumberjacks added another early on when Demers tipped in a Caleb Labelle attempt from the top of the circles.
They then got their sixth when Cam Shepheard buried a shorthanded effort after a nice cross-ice pass across from Klugerman.
The onslaught continued with Pichette’s third of the night at 12:38 of the second as he went in and picked the short side corner on Ouellet for his 32nd of 2022-23.
Blowing it open, Hearst notched three more to reach double digits before the intermission.
Brayden Palfi steered one in for his team’s eighth before Pichette picked up his fourth in the blowout while converting from between the hash marks, then saw Jett Mintenko crank a shot into the top corner from a sharp angle.
Mason Bazaluk added to the romp, 35 seconds into the third, as he put one in off a Cochrane turnover.
The Crunch did get on the board a couple of minutes later off a three-on-one where Michael Leech whipped one past Lumberjacks’ goalkeeper Kaleb Papineau with help from Yenry Jibb.
However, Bazaluk added another by finishing off a Gregory Harley chance while Morton tipped in an Adam Shillinglaw attempt from the point off a faceoff win.
Patterson and Janicki added later efforts to end Ouellet’s night in favour of Jake Dubinsky.
Morton then completed the rout with the night’s final goal.
With the lop-sided victory, the Lumberjacks improved to 42-13-2-0 on the season, while with the loss, the Crunch fell to 7-47-1-1 overall.