Cochrane Crunch come up empty in Dryden
by Randy Pascal
A lack of offense proved particularly costly for the Cochrane Crunch at the 2018 Dudley Hewitt Cup in Dryden this week.
Though the Crunch somehow managed to slide past the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in six games in the NOJHL final, despite being held to three goals
or less in all but two of those games, the same kind of luck eluded them in northwestern Ontario.
The offensive punch was particularly absent early in the tournament, as Cochrane dropped a 4-0 decision to the Thunder Bay North Stars in game
one, with Brandon Bodnar turning aside 27 shots in recording the shutout.
Scoring for the winners were Turner Santin, Keighan Gerrie, Bradley Thrower and Dillon Ward. Still no luck finding the back of the net on
day two for coach Ryan Leonard and company as the Dryden GM Ice Dogs blanked the Crunch 3-0.
Netminder Landon Pavlisin made it back to back shutouts for opposing puckstoppers with a 28-save effort, while Connor Mowatt solved
Cochrane goalie Shayne Battler on two occasions, and Woody Galbraith iced the contest with an empty-net goal.
It would take the Cochrane crew until their ninth period of hockey in Dryden to score their first goal, but when they did, things got interesting. The
Wellington Dukes opened up a 4-0 lead after forty minutes on goals from Ben Evans, Jackson Arcan, Andrew Rinaldi and Bryce Yetman,
the contest seemingly well in control.
But the Crunch would explode in a big way, receiving a pair of power play markers from Zach Hayes and an ice-breaker from Alex Brisson in a
span of 5:18, early in the third, closing the deficit to 4-3.
Things remained that way until the final minute of play, when Daniel Panetta and Colin Doyle sealed the deal for the Dukes. Adding a 6-3
semi-final win on Friday night against Thunder Bay to their resume, the Wellington lads will now face Dryden in the championship final on Saturday night.