COCHRANE, Ont. – The Hearst Lumberjacks got a pair of tallies, including the game-winner, from Mathieu Comeau as part of a 5-2 triumph over the Cochrane Crunch Thursday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter at Tim Horton Events Centre.
Hearst opened the scoring midway through the first period after a Dylan Ford attempt from the left point clipped off teammate Comeau and changed direction just enough to elude Cochrane starter Michael Nickolau.
The Crunch came right back though to tie it, just over a minute later when Ethan Ingram neatly redirected a Matteo Peca wrist shot from the slot while parked to the left of Lumberjacks goaltender Liam Oxner.
Up a skater in the middle stanza, the visitors retook the lead at 8:03 as Jaxson Holmes whipped one in from the right dot as he quickly finished off a Tyren Grimsdale cross-ice shovel pass.
Taking their 2-1 lead into the final frame, Hearst went up by a pair early as Robbie Rutledge snagged a loose puck behind the net, then put a feed across to a waiting Comeau who calmly tucked in his second of the night two minutes in.
Countering a couple of shifts later, Cochrane’s Alex Dionne controlled a draw and put it over to Cale Anderson, who slipped a low shot under Oxner to make it a 3-2 game with 15:24 to go.
Some good work behind the net from Cody Walker helped Maxandre Pelletier set-up Grimsdale to notch an insurance effort in the back half of the third.
The Crunch got their goaltender out in the late going for an extra skater, but the Lumberjacks’ Mason Bazaluk secured the road victory with an empty netter in the final minute to round out the night’s scoring.
Oxner finished with 24 saves to collect the win for Hearst while Nikolau made 41 stops in defeat.