NOJHL drops the first puck

August 22, 2014

It’s only the third week of August but there was a junior hockey game on Thursday night in Cochrane.

Mind you, it was an exhibition game, not a regular-season match but still, it was hockey.

As a prelude to the start of the 2014-2015 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season, the Cochrane Crunch defeated the visiting Mattawa Blackhawks 5-3.

After Mattawa chased 20-year old Cochrane goalie Matt Young to take an early 3-1 lead, the Crunch rebounded to post the 5-3 decision.

While it may have been only an exhibition game, Cochrane coach-general manager Ryan Leonard made his displeasure with his veteran goalie known to the Timmins Daily Press.

“I said earlier in the week our veteran needs to step up in net, but tonight he let in three goals on five shots,” Leonard said of Young, who tended goal in the NOJHL for the Blind River Beavers and erstwhile Elliot Lake Bobcats (now Cochrane) in 2013-2014.

“Two of those five shots should never go in at this level. That deflates the bench. We made the goalie change and it fired the boys up,” Leonard added.

Troy Paquette came on in relief of Young and stopped all 14 Mattawa shots to get the win for Cochrane.

PHOTO: Action from Thursday’s NOJHL exhibition-season opener between the Cochrane Crunch and the visiting Mattawa Blackhawks. (Photo by Timmins Daily Press.)

What you think about “NOJHL drops the first puck”

  1. I was at the game and while it was warm and the ice seemed to be a bit on the slushy side there was a big crowd on hand to watch the game . . . I estimate more than 500 Fans in attendance.

  2. Good for Cochrane. I’m sure the folks there will love jr hockey, similar to Espanola, where we were starved for entertainment. I’m a little surprised to hear Mr. Leonard throw his goalie under the bus publicly after one exhibition game….

    1. I have known him for a short time … I have learnt Coach Leonard did mean for those words to be taken in that context, he does say things bluntly sometimes.

      But the starting goalie did not perform well .. doesnt help that the Mattawa was outshooting Crunch big time as well .. where was the defense in that game at that point helping out .. might be a better question.

  3. Really, Coach Leonard isn’t cutting his veteren goalie much slack with public criticism as such. On the flip side Leonard is sending his message loud and clear to a 20 Yr. Old who has to perform it’s as simple as that.

  4. Rob: Mattawa was NOT out-shooting Cochrane. On the contrary according to Coach Leonard, his starting goalie allowed 3 goals on 5 shots!

    1. Looks like defense part of the game is MUCH better tonight vs Mattawa.
      Teams in early exhibiton appear closer to rural Jr B/C in their attitude and play.

      Play the game as a Teir 2 league and you will ALL continue to do well.

  5. On a personal level I do not care for Coach Ryan Lenard and his antics..
    You have to admit how ever that the man can draw attention to a meaning less Xhibition game in August that RR takes the time to rite about!

  6. For the 2nd game in a row Mattawa did not look good at all. Many of there players do not appear to be NOJHL caliber. Poor scouting and recruting if you were to ask me.

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