Eagles answer with win over Crunch

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – After giving up the game’s first goal, the Soo Eagles responded with seven unanswered markers to defeat the Cochrane Crunch 7-1 Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair at Pullar Stadium.

An innocent looking dump-in led to the night’s initial tally as Cochrane’s Collin Lapointe lifted one in from centre ice that dipped and clipped off the glove Sault Ste. Marie starter Logan Raffaele and went in for a long-range marker.

Answering in transition off a Raffaele save, the Eagles came up ice and saw Zachary Briskey fire a rising shot from the top of the left circle that flew over the shoulder on Crunch goaltender Jake Dubinsky.

The Soo built on that and scored twice more late in the period to head to the intermission up 3-1.

Teig Driessen connected by tucking one past the pad of Dubinsky after a scrambled faceoff at 17:45 while Nolan Hendry tallied just after a Cochrane penalty had expired by sliding one through the legs on the Crunch goalkeeper with just moments remaining in session.

Action in the middle stanza saw the Eagles add to their edge early where Kenny Belanger Jr. opted to shoot on a two-on-one and sharply picked the short side corner from inside the right circle for his 21st of the season.

It was more from the home side before the intermission as Michael Szlag was sent soaring down the left wing where he whipped one by Dubinsky to make it 5-1 after 40 minutes.

They had an opportunity to add to their lead after that, but Belanger Jr., was foiled by a Dubinsky glove stop on a penalty shot.

Third period play saw Soo put the game away though with a couple more markers to secure the home ice triumph.

Colin Handy with a power play blast from just inside the blueline at 8:09 and Alex Freund at even strength after being sent in alone by Szlag finished off the evening’s scoring.

With a second-straight win, the Eagles improve to 21-20-4-1 overall while the Crunch fell to 6-37-1-1.

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