COCHRANE – A Liam Blais goal with 2:06 remaining in regulation proved to be the game-winner as the Elliot Lake Wildcats went on to defeat the hometown Cochrane Crunch 4-2 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up at the Tim Horton Event Centre.
Elliot Lake opened the scoring 1:40 into the contest as Connor Scott connected for the sxith time since joining the Wildcats back in mid-January.
Cochrane drew level before the first frame was complete as Cody Gratton clicked on the power play and buried his league-leading 52nd goal of the season past A.J. Smith in the visitors net at 11:22.
Elliot Lake went back on top early in the middle session thanks to a man advantage marker from defenceman Nathan Campbell.
The Crunch battled back to tie at 3:54 of the second as Dustin Cordeiro struck short handed to level the proceedings at 2-2 through two periods of play.
It stayed that way until the late going and with overtime looming, the Wildcats went ahead for good as Blais notched the game-winner with an unassisted effort at 17:54 of the third.
Receiving a late power play chance with 63 seconds to go, Cochrane pulled netminder Brett Young in favour of an extra attacker, but Josef Kittelberger iced it with an empty net, man down tally in the final minute to round out the scoring.
Smith finished with 27 saves to record the victory for the Wildcats with Young making 36 stops in defeat for the Crunch.