COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch broke open a one-goal game with three second period markers to help send them to a 6-2 victory over the Timmins Rock in the opening contest of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s East Division Final Friday at Tim Horton Event Centre.
Nicolas Flanders started the Crunch off with the lone tally of the first period as he picked up his third of the playoffs eight minutes in.
Moving on to the middle session, Marcus Blackned secured his first NOJHL goal at 2:38 to put the home side up by a pair.
Cochrane kept coming and added two more before the session was complete with Levi Johnson at even strength and Eli Hernandez, via the power play, with just 16 seconds remaining to make it 4-0 after 40 minutes.
Austin Holmes got one back 51 seconds into the third for the Rock while Jace Soroko’s second made it a 4-2 game with 15 minutes to play.
However the Crunch regrouped and put the game away in the latter stages of the contest as Hernandez notched another power play marker before Austin Stauffer rounded out the scoring 40 seconds later.
Austin Whelan had a big night for the Crunch offensively with three assists on the night with Gordan Whelan chipping in with a couple of helpers.
Taylor Unruh made 24 saves to pick-up the win for Cochrane.
Tyler Masternak started for Timmins and suffered the loss allowing three against on 17 attempts with Eric Jackson handling 22 of 25 in just over 34 minutes of relief.
The clubs will meet again Saturday in Game 2 back in Cochrane at 7 p.m.
East Division Final
No. 2 Cochrane Crunch vs. No. 5 Timmins Rock
Cochrane leads best-of-seven series 1-0
Game 1: Cochrane 6 Timmins 2
Game 2: Saturday, March 31 @ Cochrane 7 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
Game 3: Monday, April 2 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 4 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 5*: Friday, April 6 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
Game 6*: Sunday, April 8 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game7*: Tuesday, April 10 @ Cochrane 7 p.m. (Tim Horton Event Centre)
*- if necessary
Gallery Photos courtesy of Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)