Bright NOJHL Lights

By Randy Russon – Hockey News North

Here ‘n there in the first few days of the 2015-2016 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season:

…Cochrane Crunch lit the lamp with regularity in a home-and-home, season-opening sweep of the nearby Iroquois Falls Eskis. Cochrane scored 18 goals en route to 7-1 and 11-2 wins over Iroquois Falls.

…Forwards Hunter Atchison and Dustin Cordeiro sparked the Crunch to its crush of the Eskis. Atchison scored three times and set up six others in the two wins while Cordeiro connected for five goals in the 11-2 triumph.

…While Cochrane was finding the back of the Iroquois Falls net, Crunch goalie Brett Young stood tall in the two wins, stopping 76 of 79 shots for a .962 save percentage.

…Iroquois Falls and the Soo Eagles both topped the 800 mark in attendance for their respective home openers. But it was the Timmins Rock that drew the biggest crowd with 1,046 fans showing up at McIntyre Arena for a 6-1 win over the arch-rival Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.

…Forward Sean Paterson has scored four goals for the Blind River Beavers, who are off to a 1-1 start with their first win since March, 2014.

…Rayside-Balfour Canadians are off to a 2-0 start following a home-and-home sweep of the Espanola Express. Kyle Fransen had the hat trick in Rayside’s 4-3 home-ice win, which followed a 3-1 road decision over the energetic Express.

…I took in both games of the Soo Thunderbirds-Soo Eagles, cross-border battle on the weekend. The Thunderbirds were the better team in both games though the Eagles showed considerable hustle. In fact, with better goaltending, the Eagles would have made the 5-2 and 6-3 setbacks a lot closer. By my count, the Eagles gave up six goals — three in each game — that were of the questionable variety. Which might explain why Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo plans on bringing in another goalie for a workout this week.