COCHRANE, Ont. – Riley Klugerman’s eighth goal in his past four outings, coming 16 and a half minutes into the first period, held up as the game-winner as the Hearst Lumberjacks skated away with a narrow 2-1 triumph over the Cochrane Crunch Friday in a fast-paced Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Tim Horton Events Centre.
Hearst needed just over three minutes to open the scoring as newcomer Emile Pichette redirected in his initial NOJHL tally off a left point attempt by Noah Janicki, as he converted early in his league debut.
The Lumberjacks’ NOJHL-leading power play then went to work in the back half of the session and saw Zachary Demers fire a slap-pass across to Klugerman, who roofed a shot high over a sprawling Jake Dubinsky in the Cochrane net.
The marker for Klugerman saw him score for a fourth-straight game.
Some solid goaltending at both ends of the ice saw the middle session go scoreless with Dubinsky and Hearst’s Matteo Gennaro credited with double-digit saves in the session.
Pulling to within one, four minutes into the third, Cochrane’s Christian Golic picked up his opening NOJHL goal by stuffing in a low backhand under Gennaro from the right of the crease.
Getting their goalkeeper out in an effort to tie it late, and send it to overtime, the Crunch had one final chance off a goal-mouth scramble before time expired, but the Lumberjacks held firm defensively to come away victorious for a fourth consecutive match-up.
Gennaro’s efforts saw him pick-up the victory while Dubinsky was solid for Cochrane, despite the close defeat.
The two sides will meet again Sunday afternoon in a 4 p.m. start at Claude Larose Recreation Centre in Hearst.