Lumberjacks defeat Crunch for 5th straight win

HEARST – The Hearst Lumberjacks picked up points from 14 different skaters to send them on their way to a fifth consecutive Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory, a 9-5 decision over the Cochrane Crunch, Sunday at the Claude Larose Recreation Centre.

Cochrane was quick out of the gate, getting the game’s first goal, a minute and a half in, on a Tyson Moore tally from the left boards that he rang off the crossbar and in.

Another sharp angle marker helped Hearst draw level at 6:42 when Quinton Hill, straddling the goal line, fired an attempt in front that banked off the pad of Crunch netminder Julien Lefebvre and into the open side.

Midway through the frame, the visitors regained the lead thanks to Ryan Hunter going top shelf with a shorthanded effort from the right face-off circle.

Answering again, the Lumberjacks’ Zachary Demers tallied twice in a nine-second span to tie it then put the hosts in front off a nice deke, followed by a nifty redirection.

High-powered Hearst continued to click in the middle stanza, using a four-goal barrage in the first 10 minutes to break it open.

Olivier Cloutier-Faucher started the outburst with a nice individual effort before tucking the puck between the legs of Lefebvre.

Picking off a feed up the ice, the hosts tacked on another with a shorthanded effort that saw Matthew MacDougall provide a nice cross-ice pass to set-up Brayden Palfi for his first NOJHL goal.

Not done there, Hill and Phineshish Whiteduck added later efforts to make 7-2 after 40 minutes.

The Lumberjacks tacked on another 2:20 into the third compliments of Tyren Grimsdale as he ran a point streak to four straight outings.

Update a skater midway through the third, Cochrane’s Hunter flew into the Hearst zone and went upstairs on Stephan for his team-leading fifth goal of the campaign.

Cloutier-Faucher was then stoned by Michael Nickolau with just over eight minutes remaining as the Crunch goalkeeper, playing in relief, dove across to make a sensational save.

Still battling, the guests got another on the power play with Sebastien Ouimet whipping one in from the high slot.

Going up a skater once again, Cochrane connected as Owen Canini stuffed in his initial league marker from close range.

Palfi then rounded out the scoring just before time expired as the Lumberjacks rookie put in his second of the contest to wrap things up.

Stephan was called upon to make 34 stops in registering the victory.

Lefebvre suffered the defeat, allowing six on 15 attempts while Michael Nickolau handled 19 of 22 in nearly 35 minutes of lengthy relief.

Game Photos: Paul Gagnon