KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners withstood a late comeback bid by the Cochrane Crunch before eventually prevailing 5-4, in a shootout, Monday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
The Crunch began the night’s scoring 15 minutes into the match-up as Steven Klinck clicked on the power play as his attempt towards the goal clipped off the stick of a Kirkland Lake defender and went over the shoulder of netminder Glen Crandall, who was making his NOJHL debut.
Countering right off the faceoff, the Gold Miners pushed the play up the ice and were rewarded with the equalizer 11 seconds later as Camille Marcoux converted from the top of the crease as he slammed in his fourth of the campaign.
Knotted at 1-1 in the second stanza, the Crunch went in front at 7:20 of the frame, via the man advantage, as Kobe Barrette banged in a rebound from the left of Crandall.
The home side answered back once more when Kyler Campbell went upstairs from the high slot as his wrister clipped the crossbar and in beating Julien Lefebvre in the Cochrane net.
Kirkland Lake then took the lead a minute later thanks to Marcoux, who fought off a defender before stuffing in his second of the evening.
It was more from the hosts late in the period as they won a battle for a loose puck that resulted in Mathieu Morin roofing one into the top left-hand corner from between the hash marks for his first NOJHL goal.
After handling a full two-man advantage in the final frame, the visitors pulled back to within one midway through the session as Klinck notched his second of the night after having a couple of whacks at it from the left of Lefebvre.
Then pressing for the equalizer and with their goaltender out for an extra attacker, Cochrane drew level with 70 seconds remaining when Ryan Hunter’s shot through a maze from the right wing found its way in to force the shootout.
In extra shots though, Matt King and Casey Gerstein both converted for the Gold Miners while Crandall turned aside the two chances he faced to get the win and record his first league victory.
Shots on goal finished up 40-38 in favour of Kirkland Lake with Lefebvre helping the guests pick up a point in defeat.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again Wednesday in a 7 p.m. start at Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane.
The game will also be streamed online at HockeyTV.com.
Game Photos: Allyson Demers