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Divisional semifinal series previews: Cochrane vs. Timmins /Elliot Lake vs. Rayside-Balfour

NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

NOJHL NETWORK MEDIA UPDATE

Release Date: Thursday, March 17, 2016

Divisional semifinal series previews: Cochrane vs. Timmins /Elliot Lake vs. Rayside-Balfour  

SUDBURY, Ont. – Divisional semifinal action in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. on two fronts as the Cochrane Crunch host the Timmins Rock in Game 1 of their East Division series at the Tim Horton Event Centre while the Elliot Lake Wildcats entertain the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in the opener of their West Division match-up at Centennial Arena.

Here is a preview on both best-of-seven series:

COCHRANE VS. TIMMINS

Entering the series, Cochrane finished in top spot in the NOJHL East with a 40-10-2-2 record.

Timmins, who was fourth in the East at 29-24-0-1, advanced after sweeping a best-of-three quarter-final vs. Iroquois Falls.

Checking the files of NOJHL statistician and historian David Harrison, the Crunch and Rock met eight times during the course of the regular season.

After Timmins took their first two games, Cochrane reeled off six consecutive victories to take the season set 6-2.

Hunter Atchison was the top point producer for the Crunch in those contests vs. the Rock as he amassed 14 points on a team-high eight goals and six assists.

That included the game-winner in a 5-4 triumph back of Feb. 24.

Right behind Atchison was Dustin Cordeiro, who recorded 13 points against Timmins as he scored four times and helped set-up nine others.

He was followed by Jeremy McNeil as he notched a dozen points in games meeting the Rock as he tallied five times and doles out seven assists.

McNeil also picked one game-winning goal against Timmins and drew helpers on two others.

The top point getter for the Rock in match-ups with Cochrane was Tristan Salesse as he totalled 14, including seven goals.

Zachary Kercz and Aaron Kerr were next with 10 points apiece.

Of the three tallies Kercz had against the Crunch, two were game-winners.

Brett Young saw the majority of the work in net for Cochrane vs. Timmins posting a 4-1 record.

Allan Menary meanwhile went 2-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average and a solid .935 save percentage.

Logan Ferrington recorded both wins for the Rock in games with the Crunch going 2-3 overall.

As the higher seed in the series, Cochrane is the home teams for Games 1 & 2 and if necessary, 5 & 7.

McIntyre Arena in Timmins will be the site for Games 3 & 4 and if required 6.

The Crunch led the NOJHL in goals scored with 298 while the Rock was third overall with 257.

Goals against saw Cochrane finish with fifth fewest given up at 169 and Timmins was eighth at 219.

East Division semifinal
No. 1 Cochrane Crunch vs. No. 4 Timmins Rock
Best-of-seven series
Game 1: Thursday, March 17 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)
Game 2: Saturday, March 19 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)
Game 3: Tuesday, March 22 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre)
Game 4: Thursday, March 24 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 26 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)
Game 6*: Tuesday, March 29 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 30 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)
*- if necessary

ELLIOT LAKE VS. RAYSIDE-BALFOUR

As for the Elliot Lake – Rayside-Baflour series, the Wildcats are the higher seed between the two teams and will have home ice for Game 1, 3 and if needed 5 and 7.

The Canadians will be on Chelmsford Arena ice for Game 2, 4 and if necessary 6.

Elliot Lake ended up second in the NOJHL West going 35-12-5-2 while Rayside-Balfour finished 20 points behind in third spot at 28-25-1-0.

These two sides met four times during the course of the regular season with each club winning twice.

Rayside-Balfour took the first two contests, 6-3 back on Sept. 19 and 5-4 in double overtime on Nov. 6.

Elliot Lake rebounded to take the final two meetings, 3-2 in OT on Dec. 12 before finishing up with a 5-2 triumph on Jan. 15.

Sharing the club scoring lead for the Wildcats vs. the Canadians were Spencer MacLean and Cole Hepler.

Both forwards picked up seven points apiece with MacLean notching four goals and Hepler three.

Chad Lopez was next on the squad with five points with a trio of tallies and two helpers.

Pacing Rayside-Balfour was Ryan Erickson, who had seven points of his own in the season match-up against Elliot Lake as he scored twice and assisted on five others.

NOJHL top defenceman and CCM first all-star award winner Kyle Fransen was close behind with six points to his credit with a goal and five helpers.

Jayme Forslund and Otis Goldman were next with five points each in contests with Elliot Lake.

Goaltender Al Rogers had a 2-0 record for the Wildcats in two appearances to lead his side while Aaron Mackay had an overtime setback.

Jessie Morin posted both wins for the Canadians vs. the Wildcats going 2-0 while MacKenzie Savard went 0-1-1.

Offensively Elliot Lake scored the sixth most goals in the league this season at 232 and Rayside-Balfour was seventh at 229.

The Wildcats gave up the fourth fewest goals against at 142 with the Canadians allowing the seventh-least at 208.

West Division semifinal
No. 2 Elliot Lake Wildcats vs. No. 3 Rayside-Balfour Canadians
Best-of-seven series

Game 1: Thursday, March 17 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
Game 2: Saturday, March 19 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford)
Game 3: Monday, March 21 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
Game 4: Wednesday, March 23 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford)
Game 5*: Thursday, March 24 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
Game 6*: Saturday, March 26 @ Rayside-Balfour 7:30 p.m. (Chelmsford)
Game 7*: Tuesday, March 29 @ Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. (Centennial)
*-if necessary