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NOJHL playoff preview: East quarter-final – Timmins Rock vs. Cochrane Crunch

SUDBURY, Ont. – Saturday in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League has Game 1 of the East Division quarter-final match-up between the Timmins Rock and the Cochrane Crunch getting underway at 7 p.m. at McIntyre Arena.

Fans have packed ‘The Mac’ all season long as the Timmins faithful helped the Rock lead the league in attendance for a third straight season.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The two sides met eight times during the course of the regular season in the hotly contested NOJHL East where only six points separated first through fifth in the standings.

Timmins took the season set 6-1-1, but six of those meetings were decided by just one goal, including two in extra time, while a seventh get together needed a late empty netter to help determine the outcome.

In all, the Rock outscored the Crunch by a 31-24 count.

A different player was credited with the game-winning goal on each occasion.

SCORING: Pacing Timmins offensively in games vs. Cochrane was NOJHL 1st Team All-Star Derek Seguin.

The Rock captain collected five goals and set-up five others for 10 points.

He was followed by another league all-star, in second-team defenceman Josh Anderson, who picked up nine points in total, including a pair of tallies.

Matt Capisciolto was next with eight points, that featured a team-best seven assists.

Leading the defending NOJHL champion Crunch in scoring against the Rock was the duo of Hunter Buzzi and Nicolas Flanders.

Buzzi scored once and doled out six helpers for seven points while Flanders fired home four goals and assisted on three more.

Rookie defenceman Ethan Emmanuel was right behind them with six points as he scored once and helped out on five others.

GOALTENDING: Timmins tender Tyler Masternak appeared in seven of the games vs. Cochrane and went 6-1 overall finishing with a 2.87 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

On the season in total, Masternak led the NOJHL in victories with 29 and set a league record for shutouts in a season with six.

As for Cochrane, Bradley Dobson went 1-2 overall against the Rock while Zach Wickson had a 1-3 mark.

During the 2018-19 campaign, Wickson was 19-9-0-1 between the pipes with a 2.55 goals-against average and a .919 save mark while Dobson was 8-4-1.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Timmins tallied seven times in 41 power play chances against Cochrane while the Crunch collected six extra man efforts in 39 advantage opportunities vs. the Rock.

Neither side had a shorthanded goal.

WHAT’S NEXT: The winner of this series will meet the NOJHL East-winning Hearst Lumberjacks in a best-of-seven divisional semifinal.

However, regardless of the outcome, Cochrane knows their season will continue as they are the host team of the 2019 Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship, April 30 – May 4, at Tim Horton Events Centre.

All NOJHL playoff games will be streamed live online at HockeyTV.com.

East Division quarter-final
No. 4 Timmins Rock vs. No. 5 Cochrane Crunch
Best-of-three series
Game 1: Saturday, March 9 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 2: Sunday, March 10 @ Cochrane 6 p.m. (Tim Horton Events Centre)
Game 3*: Wednesday, March 13 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
*-if necessary

With files from NOJHL Statistician/Historian David Harrison