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Flanders, Whelan tally twice as Cochrane stops Kirkland Lake

COCHRANE, Ont. – Veteran forwards Nicolas Flanders and Austin Whelan both tallied twice Saturday night to help the Cochrane Crunch defeat the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 7-4 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division match-up at Tim Horton Events Centre.

Cochrane was quick to connect to commence the night’s scoring with Flanders putting the Crunch up 1-0 just 23 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Gregory Trudeau-Paquet’s team-leading 26th drew Kirkland Lake level at 6:51 before teammate Blake Bonnar put the Gold Miners in front 75 seconds later.

However, Cochrane got that back on the next shift when Caleb Dolman reached double digits in goals as he picked up his 10th to tie it once again.

Moving on to the latter stages of the frame, Matthew Brassard put Kirkland Lake back on top as they carried a 3-2 cushion to the first intermission.

Back and forth they went in the middle stanza as the Crunch knotted the score once more as Zach Hayes’ 11th evened the proceedings at 2:37.

Flanders then gave Cochrane the lead back as his second of the night and 15th overall was also the 40th of his NOJHL career as the hosts went up 4-3 after two.

The Crunch then took a two-goal lead with 8:29 remaining thanks to Whelan as he reached the 25-goal plateau on the campaign.

A Nicholas Blachman marker with three minutes remaining put the home team up by three before Kirkland Lake’s Nick Wagner drew the visitors closer with 1:11 to go.

With a late power play, the Gold Miners pulled their goaltender in favour of an additional extra attacker, but Whelan secured the decision for Cochrane as he put one into an empty net with his side shorthanded with 15 seconds remaining to round out the night’s scoring.

Trent Grimshaw dished out a pair of assists to aid the Crunch offensive cause while goaltender Zach Wickson finished with 32 stops to record the win.

Gold Miners starter Dawson Rodin faced 36 shots in defeat.