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Crunch a win away from East division

IROQUOIS FALLS – Daniel Stagg notched a natural hat trick to help lead the Cochrane Crunch to a 4-1 victory over the Abitibi Eskimos Wednesday evening in Game 4 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal held at Jus Jordan Arena.

With the win, the Crunch now lead the best-of-seven set 3-1 and will have a chance to close out the series Friday on home ice in Game 5 at the Tim Horton Event Centre. The opening face-off in that one slated for 7:30 p.m.

Cochrane got things going with the opening tally coming at 8:55 of the first as Cody Gratton beat Abitibi starter Chet Tooker.

The Eskimos tied it late in the session as Brady Clouthier connected on the power play with just five seconds remaining in the period.

It stayed knotted at 1-1 until the final minute of the second when Stagg notched the eventual game-winner with 45 seconds left in the stanza.

Stagg then picked up his second of the night near the nine-minute mark of the third then capped off his hat trick with 6:20 remaining to round out the scoring.

Gratton and Henry Berger both had two assist nights for the Crunch in the triumph.

Brett Young finished with 35 saves to register the win for Cochrane.

Tooker saw 38 pucks fired his way in defeat for the Eskimos.

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