Cochrane Crunch crowned Polar Bear Classic champs

COCHRANE, Ont. – Tristan Taillefer’s second goal of the game, coming with 1:52 remaining in regulation, was the decider as the Cochrane Crunch rallied from a three-goal deficit to defeat the Pelham Panthers (GOJHL) 4-3 Sunday night in the championship game of the Polar Bear Classic at Tim Horton Events Centre.

Pelham, who were 4-0 entering the final, picked up the game’s opening marker nine minutes in off a Noah Caperchione effort.

The Panthers then tacked on two more before the contest was half complete on an even strength tally from Matt Ruigrok and another off the stick of Caperchione while his side was shorthanded

Despite being down by three, the defending Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League champs, battled back to pull within one before the second stanza was done as Taillefer and Zach Hayes, during a power play, brought the home side closer after 40 minutes.

Continuing to press, the Crunch picked up the equalizer midway through the third as Steven Pope levelled the proceedings.

Then with overtime looming, Taillefer, who also  notched the game-winner in the club’s semifinal triumph over the French River Rapids earlier in the day, flew down the right wing and powered his way to the net and stuffed in the difference maker from close range to complete the Crunch comeback.

Pelham pulled their goaltender with 65 seconds to go, but they could not force overtime before the final buzzer sounded.

With the NOJHL’s preseason now having come to a close, all 12 league member clubs will now gear up for the start of the 2018-19 regular season, which gets underway Friday on four fronts.

All NOJHL games will be streamed live via

Meanwhile in the title game in the AAA midget division of the PBC, the Kapuskasing Flyers skated to a 3-0 triumph over the Rouyn-Noranda Citadelles to claim the title there.

Dawson Linklater notched the eventual game-winning goal for the Flyers seven minutes in the contest.

The score stayed that way until back half of the third period when Linklater set-up Alex Lapointe for some insurance at 11:58.

Kapuskasing they secured the victory in the final moments on a Brendan Aubertin marker.

Josh Dubeault registered the shutout for the Flyers while Rouyn-Noranda netminder Maxim Morel suffered the defeat.