Cochrane kicks off 2019 with win over Espanola

COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch kicked off their 2019 portion of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League schedule Friday with solid efforts on both ends of the ice as they defeated the Espanola Express 4-2 at Tim Horton Events Centre.

A late first period power play helped Cochrane open the night’s scoring as Tristan Taillefer collected his seventh tally of the season at 16:57.

Down a man early in the second stanza, Baldino Aiello put the home side up by a pair as his shorthanded effort made it 2-0.

The score stayed that way until the midway point of the third when Trent Grimshaw notched his ninth at 10:22 as he extended a consecutive game point streak to six in the process.

Picking up a man advantage a couple minutes later, Espanola would eventually get on the board with 7:05 remaining in regulation with Lukas Lyszyk scoring on the power play for the visitors.

Caleb Dolman got that back for Cochrane at 18:36 as he put one into an empty net before Nick Belisle rounded out the scoring for the guests in the final minute.

Crunch netminder Zach Wickson, who returned to the line-up for the first time since a late-November injury, made 23 stops on the night to record the win helping his side with their third straight and improve to 5-0-0-1 in their past six outings.

Express goalkeeper Andrew Rocha meanwhile faced 41 attempts in defeat.