Nick Balavich scored the go-ahead goal in the first period, and the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks held off the challenges of the Pittsburgh Vengeance in a tough 5-3 win.
Cleveland took over the lead for good with a goal by Balavich at 17:42 in the first period. A slashing penalty on Gavin Cummings had put the Jr. Lumberjacks on the power play. Avery Huibregtse provided the assist.
Balavich had two goals to lead Cleveland to victory.
Cleveland additionally got points from Stefan Horgas, who also tallied one goal and two assists to lead the team in points. Others who scored for Cleveland included Alex Buban and Ben Lau, who each put in one. In addition, Cleveland received assists from Jared Johnson, who had two and Mike Palasics and Matt Wipper, who contributed one a piece.
Cleveland was unable to stop Pittsburgh from sending pucks towards the net, and the Vengeance eventually piled up 41 shots on goal.
Pittsburgh was helped by Nicholas Santiago, who had one goal. Santiago scored on the power play 14:03 into the first period to make the score 1-1. The Vengeance had gained a power play chance when Johnson was whistled for hooking. Tom Diffendal assisted on the tally. Pittsburgh also got points from Diffendal, who also grabbed one goal and one assist. Pittsburgh also got a goal from Joseph Randazzo as well. More assists for Pittsburgh came via Cody Black and Oskar Thorsen, who each chipped in one.
Joseph Moza recorded 38 saves for the Jr. Lumberjacks. Cleveland incurred 16 minutes in penalty time with eight minors. Pittsburgh incurred eight minutes in penalty time with four minors.