COCHRANE, Ont. – A goal, with a pile of bodies jammed in front, by Cochrane Crunch captain Hunter Buzzi, with just over a minute remaining, proved to be the game-winner in an eventual 5-3 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks Wednesday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Tim Horton Events Centre.
The Crunch power play helped the home side open the scoring 13 minutes into the contest when Stephen Minichiello collected his 11th tally of the campaign.
Hearst came back to tie it at 18:29 as Max Messier collected his first NOJHL goal with help from George Young and Sebastien Doucet.
However, Cochrane answered that just 42 seconds later, to go back in front before the frame was complete as Minichiello added another as he reached a dozen tallies on the campaign.
The hot stick of the Lumberjacks’ Olivier Cloutier-Faucher drew his side even at 4:36 of the third as he scored for a fourth straight outing and the sixth time in his past seven games to knot the affair at 2-2.
On the man advantage a minute and a half later, Hearst took the lead as Spencer Silver deposited his first of the season to give the guests the lead.
Back and forth they went with Nick Belisle of the Crunch tying things up at 9:17.
Then with time winding down, Buzzi found a loose puck at the top of the crease and fired an attempt through a maze clogged up in front, including Lumberjacks netminder Liam Oxner, and in to make it 4-3 Cochrane.
Owen Perala then wrapped it up with an empty netter in the final moments to finish off the victory.
With 29 saves, Crunch goalkeeper Zach Wickson picked up the win while the Lumberjacks’ Oxner saw 25 attempts in defeat.