Photos: Allyson Demers
KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The visiting Cochrane Crunch forced overtime with a late man advantage marker, then went on to notch the only two tallies in the shootout, to collect a narrow 4-3 triumph over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action Wednesday at Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
Cochrane also kicked off the night’s scoring as affiliate forward Cooper Moore notched his first NOJHL goal as he corralled a loose puck off a Blake Menard point blast, then while wheeling in front beat Kirkland Lake starter Ethan Barron nearly seven minutes into the contest.
Moving to the middle stanza, the Gold Miners notched an equalizer midway through the session as Benjamin Armatage pushed a play ahead off a faceoff, then cut around a defender before putting a feed in front that was steered in by Taye Ladislao on Crunch netminder Jake Dubinsky.
The home side kept coming and took the lead a few shifts later when Samuel De Mauro snapped a shot towards the target, then saw Alex McDonald finish it off from the left of the crease.
Answering right back, Cochrane drew level less than a minute later with Yenry Jibb chipping a chance by Barron while situated in close.
Getting a go ahead marker deep into the final frame, Kirkland Lake’s Cameron Allen sent a pass into the slot from behind the net where a spinning Andronique Stepanian whipped a shot off a defender that skipped into the net 16:08.
However, on a late power play and with their goalkeeper out for an additional skater in the final minute of regulation, the Crunch forced extra time by winning a draw and getting it back to Menard up high, who sent a rising attempt past a screened Barron with 30 seconds remaining.
With neither side connecting in the five-minute OT, extra shots were needed to determine a winner.
There, Jibb converted on the initial opportunity with a quick snap shot to the left corner.
Then after a Dubinsky stop, Cochrane’s Nathan MacDonald skated in and also buried his attempt in a similar location.
From there, the Cochrane stopper stacked the pads to make one final save to secure the road victory.
The result sees the Crunch snap a lengthy 20-game winless drought and move to 7-39-1-1 on the season, while the Gold Miners picked up a point in defeat, in falling to 5-42-1-1 overall.