COCHRANE, Ont. – Rahul Bola made 36 stops in regulation and overtime, then proceeded to handle all three attempts he faced in the shootout to help the Hearst Lumberjacks edge the Cochrane Crunch 4-3 in his Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League debut Sunday at Tim Horton Events Centre.
First period play saw each team score once with Max Argetsinger collecting his initial NOJHL marker for the Lumberjacks at 8:36 before Ryan Williams countered for the Crunch a couple minutes later with his first in a Cochrane jersey.
It was more the same in the second stanza with each side adding another marker in the session.
The Hearst power play put the guests in front midway through the stanza as Jordyn Mughal collected his first league marker.
Answering back at 12:42, Hunter Buzzi drew the home side even to make it 2-2 after two.
In the third, the back and forth affair continued with Matthew Minichiello putting Cochrane in front with his side converting during a man advantage.
The guests came back though to force extra time, while up a skater, as Max Griffioen’s fourth of the season tying it with 3:27 left in regulation.
Despite a couple of power plays in OT, the Lumberjacks could not solve Zach Wickson in the Crunch net to send it to extra shots.
There, Griffioen came in with speed then cut right to left and slid his chance under Wickson to give the guests the edge.
Needing to convert to keep the contest going, it was Bola who stood tall making a poke check on a Nicholas Grandy attempt with the third Cochrane attempt to help secure the road win for his side.
Shots on goal ended up 39-33 Crunch.