GALLERY: Hat trick for Martone as Powassan tightens race for first overall by defeating Cochrane

POWASSAN, Ont. – Backed by a Seiji Martone hat trick, the quest for first place in the overall Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League standings grew ever tighter Friday as the Powassan Voodoos defeated the Cochrane Crunch 4-1 Friday at the Powassan Sportsplex.

With the victory, the Voodoos rejoined the idle Timmins Rock back for a share of top spot in the 12-team NOJHL with 66 points as they registered their league-best 33rd triumph.

Friday’s match-up was scoreless deep into the first period when Martone put the home side on the board at 19:28.

Action in the second stanza was equally as close when Martone potted his second of the night, and 10th of the season, by clicking on the power play at 16:48.

Up a skater early in the third, Cochrane cut into the deficit at 3:30 thanks to a Nicholas Grandy effort.

Coming back, special teams saw Powassan get one more via the extra man when Joe Whittet’s 15th made it a 3-1 game less than three minutes later.

On the power play late in regulation, Martone finished off his first three-goal game in the NOJHL, as he rounded out the scoring at 19:25.

Parker Bowman was credited with three assists on the night to help lead his club to the triumph.

Owen Say got the win in net while Zach Wickson suffered the setback.

The Voodoos will now break the deadlock for first Saturday night as they host Timmins at 7 p.m. back at the Sportsplex.

As for Cochrane, they finish up a mini two-game road swing in Noelville in another 7 p.m. start vs. the French River Rapids.