COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch have gained the early upper hand in the East Division Final with the Timmins Rock after skating to a 3-1 Game 2 victory in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff action Saturday at Tim Horton Event Centre.
With the outcome, the Crunch now leads the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Game 3 Monday at McIntyre Arena in Timmins at 7 p.m.
Cochrane got things going offensively six and a half minutes into the contest after breaking in on a neutral zone turnover and a shot from the left side that Timmins’ netminder Tyler Masternak could not corral, which resulted in Caleb Dolman eventually banging one in from the right side of the crease.
The Crunch added another before the first frame was complete as NOJHL most valuable player and top defenceman award winner Connor Lovie jumped into the rush and was sent in alone on an Austin Stauffer pass and made no mistake snapping the eventual game-winner past Masternak at 18:45.
Eric Jackson, who saw two minutes of action in the first came out to start the second stanza for the Rock.
Timmins would get one back at 3:49 of the frame with Wayne Mathieu connecting on a similar play as Lovie as he cut around a Cochrane defender and went high on Taylor Unruh in the Crunch goal.
The Rock had some solid pressure to try and equalize through the rest of the second period and into the final session.
However, in the third, the home side added some insurance via the power play as a Lovie one-timer from the right point found its way off the end boards to Kyle Herbster then to an open Levi Johnson in front as he fired in his third of the postseason at 10:51 to round out the scoring.
Shots on goal on the night favoured Cochrane by a 39-22 count with Unruh picking up the win.
Masternak suffered the loss allowing two against on 12 attempts while Jackson handled 26 of 27 in lengthy relief.
East Division Final
No. 2 Cochrane Crunch vs. No. 5 Timmins Rock
Cochrane leads best-of-seven series 2-0
Game 1: Cochrane 6 Timmins 2
Game 2: Cochrane 3 Timmins 1
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)