HEARST, Ont. – A Jett Mintenko shorthanded breakaway goal seven and a half minutes into the second period proved to be the game-winner as the Hearst Lumberjacks went on to defeat to Cochrane Crunch 3-1 Sunday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up held at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
An early power play helped Hearst open the scoring as Emile Pichette patiently waited in the left circle before spotting Tyler Bortkiewicz sliding in the back door on the other side, who in turn slammed in his seventh of the season.
The assist for Pichette sees him extend a consecutive game point streak to nine in succession.
Down a skater in the middle stanza, the Lumberjacks’ Mintenko scooped up a loose puck and darted in alone where he made a couple of quick dekes before lifting a backhand over the pad of Crunch goalkeeper Jake Dubinsky for his 12th tally of the campaign.
Adding another before the second intermission, Hearst’s Brayden Palfi made a nice rush into the Cochrane zone, then made a nice spinning pass over to Cameron Shepheard who provided a number of in-close moves prior to tucking one into the bottom left corner.
In the final frame, the Crunch dashed Lumberjacks’ goalkeeper Kaleb Papineau’s bid for his first NOJHL shutout with just 1:23 remaining when Yenry Jibb spun in front and banged in a rebound off a Will Stewart point shot.
Papineau still however got the win, which was his seventh straight for Hearst, helping his side raise their overall record to 32-11-2-0 overall.
In defeat, the Crunch fell to 6-36-1-1.