Cochrane or Hearst to play in Dudley-Hewitt Cup final
by Randy Pascal
The NOJHL (Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League) will be represented in the final of the Dudley Hewitt Cup on Saturday.
In a preview of the semi-final encounter that will take place this evening, the host Cochrane Crunch received a goal 6:35 into overtime from
Jonas Lea, edging the Hearst Lumberjacks 5-4 on Thursday.
In a contest that featured a very limited impact on the final standings - Cochrane will enjoy the last change advantage tonight by virtue of the win - the
northern rivals still managed to provide the crowd of more than 750 with a very entertaining affair.
A wide open first period would see the teams deadlocked at 2-2, as goals from the Hearst duo of Dawson Wadell and Jake Dessando were offset
by counters from Jonas Leas and Austin Whelan of the Crunch.
That pattern remained intact in the middle stanza as Justin Morin gave the Lumberjacks a 3-2 lead, with Jake Stos pulling Cochrane even just
over two minutes later.
The pendulum kept swinging in the third as Austin Heidt (Hearst) and Zach Hayes (Cochrane) traded strikes, the matchup thereby forced into an
extra period of play. The Lumberjacks outshot the Crunch 50-38, with penalty minutes almost dead even (22-20 in favour of Hearst).
Both NOJHL teams defeated the Thunder Bay North Stars earlier in the week, with both also falling to the Oakville Blades as well. The
OJHL champs doubled Hearst 4-2 on Tuesday before upending Cochrane 6-2 the next night.