COCHRANE, Ont. – The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners struck back from an early deficit to collect a 6-3 come from behind road victory over the Cochrane Crunch in a Sunday afternoon Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Tim Horton Events Centre.
Cochrane connected quickly to stake themselves to an early two-goal lead before the match-up was five minutes in.
Nathan MacDonald notched the first one for the Crunch as he corralled a puck sent off the side boards from Blake Menard and blasted it through Kirkland Lake goalkeeper Ethan Barron, from a deep angle, at 3:23.
Coming right back a couple of shifts later, the home side extended their edge with Tucker McConnell-Fritz pinching in from the left point and putting one in short side, which resulted in the Gold Miners opting to make a goaltending change in favour of back-up Braydon Garnhart.
Coming back to cut the deficit in half midway through the first, Alex McDonald found the back of the net for the visitors when he fired a second opportunity past Cochrane starter Jake Dubinsky from the high slot.
Heading to the second stanza, Kirkland Lake tied it nearly four minutes in as defenceman Charlie Fowler led a rush up ice along the right wing and fired a shot that Dubinsky could not quite control, which allowed him to move in a jam in the rebound.
The Gold Miners kept coming and went in front at 12:41 as D-man Cameron Allen hammered in a one-timer for his first goal of the season.
Third period play saw Kirkland Lake go up by two midway through the session when Chance DeBolt buried one from the top of the crease during a two-man advantage.
Getting one back with at 16:28, Desmond Brazeau lifted a cross-ice backhand in front to Yenry Jibb, who snapped it over Garnhart.
Looking to tie it and send it to overtime, Cochrane got Dubinsky out for an extra skater, however the visitors capitalized and saw Luca Maiuri and DeBolt deposit back-to-back empty net efforts in the final minute to complete the road victory.
Garnhart’s contributions in long relief saw him collect the win for the Gold Miners, who improved to 6-45-1-1 overall.
With the loss, the Crunch fall to 7-44-1-1.
The two sides will meet again Wednesday to complete a home-and-home with a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex and on HockeyTV.com.