COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch saw Michel Mizerak tally twice, including collecting the game-winner with four and a half minutes remaining in regulation, to help propel his club to an eventual 5-3 decision over the Hearst Lumberjacks in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Saturday at Tim Horton Events Centre.
Cochrane also started strong as Billy Paschen picked up his ninth of the season, which came just 94 seconds after the opening faceoff.
Mizerak then put the home side up by a pair at 14:16, only to see Spencer Silver strike for Hearst a couple of shifts later to make it a 2-1 game after one.
Down a man early in the middle stanza, Crunch captain Hunter Buzzi struck shorthanded to spell an early end to Lumberjacks’ starter Caleb VanHeest in his NOJHL debut in favour of Liam Oxner, who went the rest of the way.
Buoyed by the change Hearst scored at 4:34 to get the guests back to within one following two periods of play.
It was more from Silver in the third as his second of the evening and 18th overall levelled the proceedings with 6:42 to go.
However, Mizerak broke the deadlock a couple of minutes later as Cochrane went back on top for good.
Jacob Seyers then secured the decision for the Crunch with an empty netter in the final moments to round out the scoring.
Chipping in with two assists to help pace Cochrane offensively was J.P. Moreira.
Zach Wickson made 32 saves to record the win.
Onxer meanwhile suffered the defeat in relief, allowing only one to get past him on 29 chances while VanHeest stopped 13 of 16 in just under 23 minutes of work.