COCHRANE, Ont. – Casey Gerstein and Connor Van Weelie both tallied twice Saturday evening to help lift the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners to a 6-1 win over the Cochrane Crunch in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Tim Horton Events Centre.
Neither side would score in the first period thanks to the efforts of the starting netminders, Michael Nickolau of the Crunch and the Gold Miners’ Kohl Reddy.
Moving to the middle frame, Kirkland Lake began the scoring as Gerstein neatly deflected Lucas Renzoni shot from the left side for his second marker of the campaign.
Cochrane came back to snap a mini drought of 91 minutes and 46 seconds without a goal by notching the equalizer, via the man advantage, that resulted by virtue of Kobe Barrette getting a piece of a Travis Szafron rising point shot at 6:05.
The Gold Miners got that back with a power play effort of their own that was started and finished off by Kyler Campbell as he spun and fired a shot that beat Nickolau from deep in Cochrane territory at 13:46 to make it 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Adding another 4:05 into the third, Matt King wheeled into the Crunch zone and lifted a backhand in front that clipped off Van Wheelie and in.
Tacking on some insurance a couple of shifts later Jacob Hiltz clicked on a four-on-three advantage, picking the corner right off a faceoff win.
Kirkland Lake then capped off the victory in the late going as Van Wheelie tipped in a Hiltz shot from just inside the blueline, while up a skater.
Gerstein then tacked on another in the back half of the third as he powered his way through a pair of defenders and finished off the scoring.
Reddy finished with 37 saves to pick up the win while Nickolau saw 49 shots put his way in defeat.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again Monday evening in an 8 p.m. start at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake.
Game Photos: Emily Martin