GALLERY: Crunch clip Rock in NOJHL preseason opener

Timmins Rock forward Linden Spencer celebrates his second-period goal as teammate Jared Dupuis, Cochrane Crunch defender Steven Cope and goalie Demain Wray look on during an NOJHL exhibition game at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls Saturday night. The Crunch got a late goal from Zach Hayes to edge the Rock 5-4.

IROQUOIS FALLS, Ont. – A Zach Hayes goal with 66 seconds remaining in regulation proved to be the difference as the Cochrane Crunch edged the Timmins Rock 5-4 Saturday in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League preseason opener held at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.

A closely contested opening 20 minutes saw each side score once with Mahinga DeContie connecting for the Rock while Hunter Buzzi countered for the Rock.

Moving on to the middle stanza the two clubs combined for five markers, including three by Cochrane.

Jacob Stos notched two of the tallies for the defending NOJHL champions while Sean Meetsma’s superb effort counted as the other for the Crunch.

Scoring for Timmins in the session were Josh Dickson and Linden Spencer.

The Rock would draw level at 6:45 of the third on a Darcy Haupt effort.

Then with overtime looming, Hayes provided the late-game heroics for Cochrane to pull out the victory.

Austin Whelan dished out two assists to aid the Crunch cause while Carson Burlington had a couple helpers for Timmins.

Cochrane held the edge in shots by a 42-36 count with Justin Vertisi picking up the win in third period relief while Dylan Dallaire suffered the setback for the Rock while handling 13 of the 14 shots he faced during 20 minutes of action.