COCHRANE, Ont. – The French River Rapids saw Brandon Melsness notch his first two Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League goals Friday as part of a 4-1 triumph over the Cochrane Crunch in a key East Division match-up at Tim Horton Events Centre.
The hometown Crunch got off to a solid start, notching the night’s opening tally less than three minutes in as Yenry Jibb knocked in a Will Stewart attempt from the left point out of mid-air for his 10th goal of the campaign.
Moving to the middle frame, French River supplied an equalizer at 7:38 when Melsness score his first NOJHL marker as he wired a shot off the crossbar and in from the right circle.
Up a skater early in the third, the Rapids went in front when Matthew Campanella’s mid-air tip-in off a Jack Ginocchi wrister from the point put the visitors in front with 16:11 to play.
They then went up by two a few minutes later when Ginocchi whipped one by Cochrane’s Jake Dubinsky.
Putting the game away in the late going, Melsness was given time to skate in on Dubinsky during a man advantage and deposited his second of the night with a close-range backhand at 17:10 to cap off the result.
French River goalkeeper Matthew Perdue picked up the win for his side, helping them improve to 8-40-2-1 and move three points ahead of Cochrane in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the NOJHL East.
With the loss, the Crunch dropped to 7-42-1-1 overall.