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3rd period rally lifts Cochrane past Hearst

HEARST, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch rebounded from an early deficit then picked up a pair of third period tallies to help them defeat the Hearst Lumberjacks 5-4 in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Tuesday evening in front of 639 fans at Claude Larose Arena.

The hometown Lumberjacks got off to a nice start skating out to an early 2-0 lead on tallies by Jake Desando and Max Griffioen, who both collected their 18th markers of the season.

Battling back late in the first period, Cochrane tacked on two of their own to knot the affair at 2-2 after 20 minutes thanks to Taylor Redmond’s first and Auston Whelan’s 23rd.

Moving on to the second stanza, the Crunch took the lead 3:24 into the session on a Hunter Buzzi effort.

Hearst however countered with the equalizer midway through the frame with Desando adding another, this time clicking on a man advantage opportunity.

They then went back on top a couple shifts later off the stick of Garett Giertuga to give the Lumberjacks a 4-3 cushion through two.

The score stayed that way until just over six minutes left in regulation when Jacob Stos tied it for Cochrane.

Whelan then capped off the comeback with 4:26 to go as his second of the night proved to be the game-winner as the visitors pulled out the road victory.

Zach Hayes and Nicolas Flanders dished out two assists each to aid the Crunch cause while Griffioen, Alec Johnson and J.J. Berdal had a pair of helpers apiece for Hearst.

Bradley Dobson made 24 saves to record the win for Cochrane while Nicholas Tallarico faced 25 attempts in defeat for the Lumberjacks.

With the outcome, the Crunch improved to 24-14-0-2 on the season while Hearst slipped to 18-13-4-1.