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GALLERY: Crunch rally late, then upend Rapids in shootout

FRENCH RIVER – Hunter Buzzi scored once in regulation then provided the lone marker in the shootout as the Cochrane Crunch rallied for a 5-4 come from behind triumph over the French River Rapids 5-4 in a free-wheeling Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair Sunday at Noelville Arena.

Cochrane was first on the board near the five-minute mark of the opening period as Austin Whelan picked up his eighth of the year.

French River then tied it at 8:42 as Hunter Brazier connected for the fifth time in 2018-19.

The Crunch regained the lead before the first was complete thanks to Jacob Stos, who too notched his fifth marker of the season.

Moving on to the middle stanza, the Rapids came out quickly and tallied three times before the session was three minutes old.

Jacob Romano’s first of the campaign leveled the proceedings just 12 seconds into the stanza while teammate Philippe Daoust got into the act at 1:37.

French River kept coming and got another one in rapid succession with Ryan Smith striking for the sixth time in 2018-19 to make it 4-2 for the home side.

It stayed 4-2 Rapids until 11:45 of the third when Buzzi brought the visitors to within one.

Cochrane then tied it late to force extra time as Ryan Mooney notched the equalizer with 1:33 remaining in regulation.

After a scoreless five-minute overtime failed to provide a winner, it went to extra shots to determine the outcome.

There Buzzi was the only player to connect as he snapped his attempt low through the legs of French River netminder Kevin Tardif to give his side the edge.

Needing to score to keep the contest going, but Andrew Gavros wired his shot of the cross bar and out as the Crunch prevailed with the victory.

Cochrane affiliate netminder Carson Bouton entered the contest after the second French River marker and picked up the win in lengthy relief making 34 stops, including a breakaway in OT, in nearly 45 minutes of work as well as handling all three shootout attempts he faced. Starter Zach Wickson allowed two against on 13 shots.

Kevin Tardif made 43 saves for the Rapids to help his side pick up a point with the result.

Photos courtesy of  Dal Photography