COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch are moving to the third round of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs are defeating the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 3-1 Sunday in Game 5 of their East Division semifinal at Tim Horton Event Centre.
Cochrane takes the best-of-seven series 4-1 and will now advance to the East final against either the Powassan Voodoos or Timmins Rock.
The Crunch outshot the Gold Miners 13-6 in the opening 20 minutes, but each side would score once with Noah Bennett putting Cochrane on the board eight and a half minutes into the contest only to see Tyler Fyfe level the proceedings for Kirkland Lake at 15:07.
Cochrane pressed the pace again in the middle session and were rewarded with the go head marker at 12:55 when Levi Johnson fed one back to Gordon Whelan at the point who snapped a shot that found its way though a crowd in front and past Kirkland Lake starter Ryan Winter that proved to be the game-winner.
Austin Stauffer then supplied some insurance for the Crunch late in the third as he scored into an empty net to wrap-up the series win.
Johnson had two assists to aid the Cochrane cause.
Taylor Unruh finished with 17 saves to record the victory while Winter stopped 36 of 38 in the season-ending loss for the Gold Miners.
East Division semifinal
No. 2 Cochrane Crunch vs. No. 3 Kirkland Lake Gold Miners
Cochrane wins best-of-seven series 4-1
Game 1: Cochrane 5 Kirkland Lake 3
Game 2: Cochrane 4 Kirkland Lake 2
Game 3: Cochrane 8 Kirkland Lake 0
Game 4: Kirkland Lake 2 Cochrane 1
Game 5: Cochrane 3 Kirkland Lake 1