KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch collected four points apiece from Austin Whelan, Trent Grimshaw and Nicolas Flanders to help propel them to a 7-4 victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Wednesday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up held at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
Kirkland Lake did get off to a great start in the contest as they grabbed a 2-0 lead on tallies from Sam Ellwood and Gregory Trudeau-Paquet.
However, Cochrane countered with goals from Whelan and Flanders in the final five minutes of the first period to level the proceedings at 2-2.
The Crunch them came out strong to commence the middle stanza by striking twice as Whelan and Shadow Reuben both connected before the session was four minutes old to spell an early end to Gold Miners’ starter Gregory Brassard in favour of Dawson Rodin.
However the visitors greeted Rodin with another goal 22 seconds later off the stick of Grimshaw.
The home side did regroup though as they answered quickly on a Aidan Wagner effort at 5:11.
Cochrane got that back later in the second when Grimshaw scored on the power play to put the visitors up 6-3 after 40 minutes.
The man advantage helped Kirkland Lake draw closer as Nick Wagner notched his first goal in his NOJHL debut with 6:54 remaining in regulation.
They then pulled Rodin in the late going in an attempt to get another one, but Jacob Stos iced it for the Crunch with an empty netter with 22 seconds left to secure the road win.
Bradley Dobson made 25 stops to pick-up the win for Cochrane.
Brassard faced 22 shots in defeat while Rodin handled 20 of 21 in relief.
With the outcome,19-14-0-1 Cochrane moves to within four points of 21-10-1-0 Kirkland Lake in the race for top spot in the NOJHL’s East Division.
Idle Powassan and Timmins, along with the Crunch, now have 39 points on the season, four back of the Gold Miners in the tight divisional race.
Photos courtesy of CapturingTheMoment.ca