Photos: Jeremy Seguin
FRENCH RIVER – A Desmond Brazeau marker in the fourth round of the shootout was the only one to be supplied in extra attempts as the Cochrane Crunch prevailed with a 5-4 victory over the French River Rapids in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Friday night at Noelville Arena.
The Rapids needed just nine seconds to strike first in the contest after Josh Russell picked off a play in the neutral zone and countered quickly on an odd-man rush and saucered a pass across from the left wing over to Connor Picard, who steered in his initial NOJHL tally in beating Crunch starter Marcus Ouellet.
Staying that way into the second stanza, Cochrane drew even at 2:25 thanks to Jonathon Hutorsky as he darted down the right side and ripped a shot, blocker side, on French River’s Brady Dyer.
Adding another a few minutes later, the visitors took the lead thanks to Jayden Lavelley-Lewis’ initial league effort when he chipped a second chance through Dyer from the left of the crease.
Picking up the equalizer late in the frame, the Rapids Will Bourre whipped in a Jordan Bax pass, while scoring from the slot.
A busy third session saw each side connect twice to knot the affair at 4-4 following 60 minutes of play.
Brazeau’s opening NOJHL goal gave Cochrane the edge with a shorthanded contribution at 6:25 as he whittled a play free from his own blueline then proceeded to skate down and put a shot into the left corner.
Tying the score six minutes after that, Dominic Suhr evened the matter for the home side as he neatly deflected an Owen Ethier effort from the left point.
Continuing to go back and forth, Will Stewart picked one up from a sharp angle to give the Crunch a slim margin yet again.
French River forced overtime though deep in regulation courtesy of Abram Snider’s extra attacker effort with 26 seconds remaining as he got a piece of a Jack Ginocchi effort from the top of the left circle.
Following a scoreless five-minute OT, Brazeau won it for Cochrane with the lone tally in additional shots as he made a couple of dekes and went upstairs.
One final save by Ouellet secured the result and gave the Crunch the triumph.