COCHRANE, Ont. – The Cochrane Crunch needed a Jacob Seyers strike in the shootout to help them hold off an Espanola Express comeback attempt before eventually prevailing with a 4-3 victory in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Saturday at Tim Horton Events Centre.
Following a scoreless opening period, Cochrane would open the scoring 4:50 into the second stanza as Matthew Minichiello picked up his 13th tally of the season, which tied his with his brother Stephen for the team goal scoring lead.
The Crunch then tacked on another courtesy of Ryan Hunter three minutes later.
It was more from the hosts at 15:56 on a Kobe Barrette effort before Espanola got on the board a couple of shifts later with Robert Maulucci providing his third of 2019-20.
In the third, the Express made it 3-2 with just over eight minutes remaining when Zach Trempner scored on the power play.
The visitors then converted on a late man advantage chance to tie it and force overtime with 24 seconds remaining in regulation on Lukas Lyszyk’s equalizer.
After overtime failed to decide the outcome, extra shots were needed to determine a winner.
There, Seyers provided the only goal in the shootout as he connected on Cochrane’s first chance by skating in, cutting left and lifting in a back hand.
Crunch netminder Tomi Gagnon stopped all three chances he faced there to help secure the home ice victory and made 18 saves prior to that in getting the win.
Espanola starter Carson Boutin certainly did his part to help the Express pickup a point in defeat making 49 saves through three periods and OT.