SUDBURY, Ont. – Cochrane Crunch forward Baldino Aiello notched a third period natural hat trick to break open a tie game to lead his team to a 5-2 win over the Elliot Lake Wildcats Tuesday in Day 1 competition at the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League Showcase at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Each team would score once in the first frame with Nicolas Flanders putting the Crunch on the board two minutes into the contest before Elliot Lake’s Josh Bifolchi leveled the proceedings at 15:57.
Cochrane regained the lead in the latter stages of the middle session when Hunter Buzzi put in his third of season at 17:59.
On a power play that carried over into the third, the Wildcats drew level 16 seconds into the stanza thanks to Brett Crook, who finished off the work of teammates Cole Burton and Mark Perone.
It stayed 2-2 until 13:34 when Aiello stuffed in his first of the contest.
Aiello added another with just under three minutes remaining in regulation then finished off his first NOJHL three-goal performance by scoring shorthanded into an empty net with the final moments to complete his impressive effort.
Shots on goal in the match-up favoured Cochrane by a 38-26 count with Zach Wickson picking up the win while Dominic Boily suffered the loss.
Photos by Chris Dawson