Power play paces Crunch past Canadians

COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch notched a season game-high three power play goals to help them skate to an eventual 4-2 decision over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians Friday night in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at Tim Horton Events Centre.

After finishing last season second in the league in goals scored with 233, the defending NOJHL champions from Cochrane, who defeated the Canadians in last year’s final, had only tallied 18 times in their first nine outings heading into Friday’s contest.

They broke out of their offensive funk on this night in the latter stages of the first period when Hunter Buzzi put the home side on the board at 16:37.

The Crunch then notched their initial man advantage effort with 19 seconds left in the opening frame compliments of Zach Hayes.

Up a man again early in the middle stanza as Hayes set-up Jacob Stos for his fourth at 3:01.

The Cochrane power play continued to click midway through the session as newcomer Trent Grimshaw scored in his NOJHL debut.

Down a man midway through the third, Rayside-Balfour got on the board while shorthanded as Kyle Liinamaa connected to make it 4-1.

The Canadians then got one more in the final seconds of regulation as Jett Leishman put in his first to wrap things up.

Both Hayes and Grimshaw also dished out two assists each for three-point nights.

Zach Wiskson made 38 stops, including thwarting a third period penalty shot to record the win for the Crunch.

Meanwhile Rayside-Balfour netminder David Bowen faced 42 attempts in defeat.