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Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
Crunch have Canadians on the ropes
by Randy Pascal

Momentum is clearly on the side of the Cochrane Crunch.

Registering their third consecutive win, the Crunch have taken a 3-2 series lead in the best of seven NOJHL Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League) championship tilt with the Rayside-Balfour Canadians.

The first road victory of the series would see Cochrane edge Rayside 3-2 Sunday afternoon in Chelmsford, overcoming a 2-1 deficit heading into the third period of play.

Noah Serré opened the scoring for the Canadians at 12:31 of period two, finishing off a pretty individual effort after he was partially hauled down on a breakaway, deking Cochrane netminder Shayne Battler at the very last second.

Levi Johnson got that one back roughly four minutes later, making no mistake on a rebound as he was left all alone to the left of Rayside netminder Brayden Lachance, who enjoyed a sensational outing, finishing with 47 saves.

The Canadians regained their one goal advantage when a pass from Gabriel Rheault deflected off the skates of James White, past Battler, with just over a minute to play in the middle stanza.

Once again, the Crunch fought back, as Austin Whelan batted home a puck, mid-air, just in front of Lachance, just 34 seconds into period number three. A power play opportunity for coach Steve Lauzon and company went awry when Kyle Herbster picked off a pass near his own blue-line and darted in all alone, converting on the breakaway for a short-handed effort.

Cochrane, which outshot Rayside 50-35, will now try to finish things off at home on Tuesday. If a seventh game is required, it is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Chelmsford Arena.

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