Crunch, Beavers are hot

Randy Russon
November 15, 2017

One from the East, one from the West. They represent two Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League teams that are on a roll.

On the East side, the Cochrane Crunch is 4-0-1 in its last 5 games and 7-2-1 over its last 10 outings to move into second spot with a record of 13-8-1.

And the Blind River Beavers are the West side story of late. Coach Kyle Brick’s Beavers have won three in a row and eight of their past 10 to vault into second place with a 15-11-1 record.

A pair of American-born forwards are leading the way for coach Ryan Leonard’s Crunch bunch up in Cochrane. Austin Stauffer has 16 goals, 12 assists, 28 points while Kyle Herbster has 13-13-26 totals.

Along Highway 17 at Blind River, a North Shore duo is lighting it up for the Beavers with 18 goals apiece. And Echo Bay product Max Khull and homegrown Blind River native son Caleb Serre both have plenty of NOJHL eligibility left in them as 1999 birth year forwards.

The Beavers have also been getting big-game net-minding from American goalie Michael Corson, who has sparkling numbers — 7-2-0 record, 1.46 goals against average and .959 save percentage.

What you think about “Crunch, Beavers are hot”

  1. Agreed! Owen Robinson, #9, has been playing amazing in his Rookie year, maintaining his position as one of the point leaders alongside supportive teamates, Max and Caleb. Great hockey!

  2. Glad Owen has been mentioned.
    He has been a real asset to the Beavers on and off the ice this season.
    Great all around young man.
    Keep up the good work Owen.

    1. No real effort is being put in scouting and recruiting players from what I see. They seem to be scouring minor midget teams and not so-high level tournaments like the Chowder Cup in hopes of landing players. They are back again being too young to compete in the NOJHL.

      They need to go back to their roots of scouting and recruiting, go after major midget players and revolutionize their program. It might even be advantageous to offer some good players some deals to join their team like discounts (although that could create issues in the locker room if players go wind of a fellow teammate getting preferential treatment).

      French River has turned it somewhat around after slicing and dicing their front office….time might be up for Randy Blake and Chad Clarke in Espanola, because they haven’t finished .500 once since the Rivermen bailed from the NOJHL in 2013-14. The best winning percentage that team has had with those guys in charge is .250. Just brutal. But seeing as how most of the management team has a share in the ownership of the team…I think they may be stuck with them.

      As much as I don’t really respect what Tim Clayden did with the Rivermen back when he bailed on the NOJHL, the fact was he was able to attract good players from all over as the team president.

      Sad state of affairs for sure..

  3. There was a long period of time when Tom McCarthy and Tim Clayden were joined at the hip and were, for the most part, reasonably successful. Now Tom has a 1 and 22 record as Head Coach of Espanola and I have no idea where Tim is. Is he involved in hockey these days?

    1. As far as I know I think he’s still running that Canadian International Hockey Network…unless that folded too…there’s still a website and stuff.

      I just don’t know, I don’t like this excuse that I hear all the time about it being hard to attract players to Espanola. Blind River is drawing great players, so is Cochrane, and Powassan *although half of their team is North Bay kids).

      Maybe they need to affiliate with an OJHL and and OHL team and help stock up some Junior A caliber talent…or maybe work at their investment instead of hoping to ride Tommy Mac’s name to the promise land.

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