COCHRANE – Tyren Grimsdale’s top corner tally in the fifth round of the shootout ended up being the decider as the Hearst Lumberjacks rallied for a 4-3 win over the Cochrane Crunch Saturday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Tim Horton Events Centre.
A trio of man advantage opportunities for Hearst helped them out shoot Cochrane 20-7 in the first period, but the Lumberjacks could not solve Crunch starter Michael Nickolau while Liam Oxner was equally solid in net for the visitors.
The hometown Crunch opened the scoring midway through the middle stanza while shorthanded as Ryan Hunter broke up a pass in front then wheeled down the right wing before cutting in and picking the left hand corner.
After successfully handling their man-down situation, the hosts got another goal that resulted in Benjamin Orgil splitting the defence and placing his shot in the same area Hunter did moments earlier as he collected his first NOJHL goal.
Hearst did cut into the deficit before the second frame was complete as Quinton Hill darted in, pulled up between the circles, then proceeded to wrist in his first league marker at 16:48.
On a two-on-one early in the final frame, the Crunch added to their cushion with Sebastien Ouimet banging in a rebound off a Simon Levac shot.
Down a skater, the Lumberjacks pulled back to within one as Olivier Cloutier-Faucher picked off a clearing pass then went on to lift a backhander over the glove of Nickolau with just over 16 minutes to play.
Parked in close during a lengthy power play, Hill redirected a right point shot to knot the affair at 3-3 with 6:35 remaining.
Heading to the shootout, Hearst’s Cloutier-Faucher and Cochrane’s Travis Szafron both converted on their chances before Grimsdale went upstairs to give the visitors the edge.
Needing to convert to keep things going, Tyson Moore of the Crunch came in, deked to his left and had Oxner beat, but his backhander rang off the cross bar and stayed out to give the guests the victory.
Oxner made 20 stops to pick up the win while Nikolau’s 42-save effort helped Cochrane collect a point in the setback.
The two teams will finish off their weekend home-and-home affair Sunday in a 4 p.m. start at Claude Larose Arena.
Game Photos: Emily Martin