Crunch outlast Rapids in high-scoring affair played in Iroquois Falls

IROQUOIS FALLS, Ont. – With plenty of offensive fire power on both sides the Cochrane Crunch went on to outlast the French River Rapids Friday with an eventual 8-7 victory in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League neutral site affair at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls.

Cochrane came out quickly and skated out to an early lead as Owen Perala connected 24 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Team captain Hunter Buzzi then added to the Crunch lead before the midway point of the first to make it 2-0 after one.

Heading into the middle session, another early strike saw Michael Chapman collect his first NOJHL at 1:12.

Nicholas Grandy then made it 4-0 a few minutes later to put Cochrane seemingly in control.

However, French River roared to life as they tallied three times in rapid succession to get right back into it as Cooper Bowman, James Eng and Ty Chambers, with a man advantage effort, all found the back of the net.

Regrouping, the Crunch went up 5-3 moments later as Maxwell Tucker fired in his sixth.

Reaching the 20-goal plateau, rookie forward Matthew Minichiello doubled the visitors lead just past the three-minute mark of the third period.

The Rapids cut back into the deficit just after that with Jack Tos getting his name on the score sheet.

From there, the goals kept coming from both sides with Buzzi bagging his second of the evening half way through the third, only to see French River counter with another even strength effort courtesy of Tos and one on the power play thanks to Connor Loft to make it 7-6 with over eight minutes to play.

Will Frustaglio then tied it at 15:50 to knot the contest at 7-7.

However, Cochrane countered with the game-winner moments later as Jordan Fielding finished off the 15-goal barrage from the left point to cap off the night’s scoring.

Tomi Gagnon picked up the win in net for the Crunch seeing 36 shots against while Ben Montgomery and Sebastian Woods both saw time in net for French River as they faced a combined 51 attempts in defeat.