COCHRANE – Jason Berube scored twice and set-up three others to help lead the Cochrane Crunch to a hard-fought 6-5 victory over the Mattawa Blackhawks in their first-ever Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League game, held Thursday night, at the Tim Horton Event Centre.
It took the Crunch just 83 seconds to notch the initial goal in franchise history with Berube getting credit for the marker on an assist by Jacob Erwin.
After Alex Hulford struck on the power play four minutes into the contest to level the proceedings, Berube notched his second of the stanza midway through the period to put the home side up one through 20 minutes.
Mattawa tied it early in the middle frame thanks to a Kyle Baril unassisted effort at 1:08.
The tallies kept coming in the period with Dustin Cordeiro bagging his first of the season at 6:45.
After the visitors pulled back even six minutes later thanks to Andy Williams, the home side regained the lead for a third time when Berube fed Erwin at 13:50 to make it 4-3 after two periods of play.
The see-saw affair continued in the third with Damon Lemmon tying things up once again early in the session.
After Josh Racek put Cochrane back on top at 5:16, Erwin fired home the eventual game-winner six minutes later.
A resilient Mattawa side drew closer off the stick of Tyler Broderson with 7:44 to go, but it turned out to be the final tally of the evening.
Matt Young registered win No. 1 for the Crunch making 33 saves overall.
Joe Sheppard saw 53 pucks fired his way in a losing cause for Mattawa.
Two more NOJHL contests are on tap Friday with Cochrane hosting the Powassan Voodoos while the Blackhawks head to Kirkland Lake to take on the defending league champion Gold Miners in a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts.