Photos: Dal Photography
FRENCH RIVER – The Cochrane Crunch stormed out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes, and never trailed, in defeating the French River Rapids 6-4 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Sunday at Noelville Arena.
Some nice corner work by Cochrane’s Liam Boswell helped generate the game’s opening tally as the puck was eventually sent in front where Will Stewart was there to stuff in his first NOJHL goal, under the outstretched glove of French River starter Kaleb Papineau.
Going to the power play later in the frame, the visiting Crunch connected to go up by a pair at 8:56.
That came about when Jonathan Hutorsky pushed the play ahead off a face-off and promptly fired a shot high over the blocker of Papineau for his initial league marker.
Tacking on another in the final minute of period, a long feed up-ice sent Ben Sherman darting down the left wing, where he skated into the circle and zipped one in, to also join the NOJHL first-goal club.
Opting to make a goaltending change to commence the second stanza, Ben Gustafson entered the Rapids’ net.
Needing a spark, Brady Bouchard provided it for French River with a shorthanded effort at 5:06 as he powered down the right wing and snapped an attempt past the glove of Cochrane goaltender Jake Dubinsky.
Regrouping, the Crunch got that back before the period came to a close though, as Boswell fed an open Cameron Frost in the slot, who buried one into the left side.
The hosts pulled back to within two, 3:50 in the third, after winning a draw, which allowed Jack Ginocchi to lift a rising shot from the left point that was sharply deflected by Chase Thompson parked in front of Dubinsky.
Getting that back, Cochrane’s Joshua Liu blasted a low, long-range effort through the legs of Gustafson for his club’s fifth of the day.
Continuing to battle, French River got a bounce off a Crunch defender off a Joshua McKay shot from the left side that changed direction and flipped into the net.
Picking up a man advantage, and also pulling their goalkeeper for an additional slater, Rapids made it a one-goal game with 2:28 remaining as Jackson Doyle was set-up from the end boards and quickly put one upstairs.
The home side pulled their netminder once more, despite having a player in the penalty box, but Cochrane sealed the road triumph off a Sherman a backhand into open cage to wrap-up the result.
Dubinsky earned his first NOJHL win while Gustafson suffered the setback in lengthy relief.