CHELMSFORD, Ont. – A Zach Hayes goal midway through the contest proved to be the game-winner as the Cochrane Crunch went on to slip past the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 2-1 Sunday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Chelmsford Arena.
Cochrane opened the night’s scoring 16:40 into the first period on Trent Grimshaw’s 15th tally of the campaign.
The Crunch then got the eventual difference maker halfway through the second stanza as he too tallied for the 15th time in 2018-19.
A third 15-goal man on the season put the Canadians on the board with 6:40 remaining in regulation when Giordano Biondi finished off a Kyle Liinamaa feed.
However, that was all they would get as Cochrane held firm from there to secure the road victory.
Crunch netminder Bradley Dobson made 26 saves to register the win for his side while Rayside-Balfour goalkeeper Sebastien Plamondon stopped 28 of 30 in suffering the narrow defeat.
With the outcome, Cochrane wraps up their regular season portion of their schedule finishing 31-20-1-4 ending up fifth the league’s East Division.
They will now wait to see who they will meet in the first round of the playoffs.
As for 30-20-2-3 Rayside-Balfour, they have one game remaining on their slate, but are confirmed as the No. 2 seed in the NOJHL West and will take on the No. 3 Soo Eagles in a best-of-seven divisional semifinal with those dates in that match-up awaiting to be finalized.