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Cochrane takes NOJHL East 1st place showdown vs. Kirkland Lake

COCHRANE, Ont. – Cochrane Crunch goaltender Zach Wickson handled all 27 shots he faced Thursday evening to help backstop his team to a 3-0 victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Tim Horton Events Centre.

With the outcome, Cochrane moves two points ahead of Kirkland Lake into sole possession of top spot in the hotly contested race in the NOJHL East Division standings.

The 28-14-2-2 Gold Miners do however hold four games in hand on the 29-17-1-3 Crunch.

Action in the opening 20 minutes was scoreless thanks to the efforts of Wickson and Kirkland Lake starter Dawson Rodin.

The home side eventually broke the deadlock with a man advantage marker 12:50 into the second stanza as Jacob Stos notched the eventual game-winner with assists going to Zach Hayes and Ethan Emanuel.

Cochrane added some insurance past the midway mark of the third on Hunter Buzzi’s 14th of the season to put them up by two.

They then secured the triumph in the late going as Austin Whelan put one into an empty net as he collected his team-leading 29th marker of 2018-19 and his 98th career NOJHL point to round out the scoring.

The shutout was Wickson’s second of the season and fourth consecutive win.

Rodin made 28 stops in defeat for Kirkland Lake.