COCHRANE – Dustin Cordeiro scored three times and set-up two others to help carry the Cordeiro Crunch to a 5-2 win over the Abitibi Eskimos Thursday evening in their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Divison semifinal playoff opener at the Tim Horton Event Centre.
With the decision, the Crunch grab an early 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven affair with the series now shifting to Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls for Game 2 Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Cochrane got on the board early as Cordeiro was sent in alone from in close and made no mistake picking the corner on Abitibi stater Chet Tooker at 2:03.
A 47-goal man in the regular season, Cordeiro added his second of the stanza two and half minutes later as he was presented a tap in following a cross-crease pass from Aviv Milner, who picked up another assist after setting up the initial tally as well.
Moments after the Crunch were denied by Tooker on a shorthanded breakaway by Cody Gratton, they got another seconds later and Henry Berger made no mistake to make it a 3-0 game.
Abitibi did answer back at 12:01 as Kyle Levis darted in on a one-on-two and wired a toe drag shot into the top lefthand corner from the high slot that eluded Cochrane starter Brett Young.
The Eskimos got even closer 29 seconds into the middle stanza as Brennan Roy found himself wide open in front of the Crunch net and ripped a shot past Young to make it 3-2.
Breaking out quickly out of their own end, Cochrane went back up by a pair as Cordeiro buried his third of night and 50th overall in regular season and playoff action at 10:36.
Berger had a big chance to add to the lead with five minutes left in the session only to be denied by a glorious glove save by Tooker to keep it close.
Cordeiro’s fifth point of the evening came via the man advantage midway through the third as he sent a crisp cross ice pass that was chipped in by Berger to round out the scoring.
Milner also had a big night for the Crunch doling out four assists in total.
Shots on goal favoured Cochrane 41-39 with Young earning the win and Tooker suffering the loss.
East semifinal 2
No. 2 Cochrane Crunch vs. No. 3 Abitibi Eskimos
Crunch lead best-of-seven series 1-0
Game 1: Cochrane 5 Abitibi 2
Game 2: Saturday, March 14 @ Iroquois Falls 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan Arena)
Game 3: Monday, March 16 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)
Game 4: Wednesday, March 18 @ Iroquois Falls 7:30 p.m. (Jus Jordan )
Game 5*: Friday, March 20 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)
Game 6*: Saturday, March 21 @ Iroquois Falls 8 p.m. (Jus Jordan )
Game 7*: Tuesday, March 24 @ Cochrane 7:30 p.m. (Tim Horton)