Staples shines in Voodoos debut but fall in OT heartbreaker

POWASSAN, ON – Cody Gratton scored on a power play on 3 on 3 with 1:14 left in double overtime to propel the Cochrane Crunch to a 7-6 win over the Powassan Voodoos on Saturday night at the Powassan Sportsplex.

The goal spoiled a 3-goal performance for Jake Staples in his debut with the Voodoos.

The 19-year-old former Midget AAA Trappers and Jr A Trappers forward joined the Voodoos in a deadline deal trade with the English River Miners of the SIJHL on Saturday which was the CIJHL Trade Deadline.

Staples scored two shorthanded markers and a power play goal in the double OT setback.

The Callander native had 7 goals and 18 assists totaling 25 points in 26 games so far this season with the Miners before the trade.

Voodoos GM and VP of Hockey Operations Chris Dawson, who brought in Staples to the North Bay Jr. Trappers in 2013, was thrilled to bring him to Powassan.

“Jake Staples is a character kid, he’s a leader and a veteran who will be a nice addition to our young roster,” said Dawson, who sent forwards Jack Zanville and Dante Juris to Blind River for cash on Wednesday, which was flipped to English River to bring Staples to Powassan.  

“He fit in right away.  It took some good work from our team to bring him here but I’m very pleased the deal came together.”

Staples felt it was a great start and he is glad to move back closer to home and join the Voodoos. 

“It seemed like the puck was finding me everywhere i went tonight and was fortunate enough to put a few home,” said Staples.

“The team played well I thought, we’re very deep at forward and with a few more bounces are calls we would have walked away with two points. I look forward to growing a little more as a team and I think we have a great opportunity to win going down the stretch and into the playoffs.”

Each side struck twice in the opening 20 minutes as Gratton and Aviv Milner connected for Cochrane while Jake Staples shorthanded, in his Powassan debut, and Michael Silveri during a man advantage countered for the Voodoos.

Gratton and Milner’s goals came less than 30 seconds apart, and gave the visitors an early 2-0 only 1:28 into the game. 

The teams added two more tallies apiece in the second stanza to knot the score at 4-4 after two.

Staples and Tyler Gervais-Rolfe put Powassan up by a pair only to see the Crunch answer back with markers from Joey Mavrin and former Voodoos forward Stavros Soilis to level the proceedings.

Milner’s second of the evening put Cochrane back in front only to see Battalion prospect David Sherman tie it once again 5-5 with 10:12 to go.  

The big 2014 2nd round pick of the Battalion, joined the Voodoos on Thursday.  He finished with 1 goal and 1 assist Saturday night.  

Staples struck again for his second man down effort of the contest with just over five minutes left, but the Crunch forced extra time as Dustin Cordeiro tied it with a bizarre shot from behind the net which went off a Voodoos defender with 3:26 left in regulation.

Voodoos goalie Jack Ondrovic forced the game into overtime making a breakaway save on Aviv Milner in the dying seconds of the game. 

Neither side would convert in the first OT, but Gratton ended it late as his potted his league-leading 41st goal of the season to give the Crunch the extra point on the night.

Referee Josh Jolly called a trip on Voodoos defenceman Josh Ibbitson as Dustin Cordiero tried to spin and get a shot away while driving to the net at 3:30 of the second overtime period, giving the visitors a 4 on 3 power play for the rest of the final OT period. 

Former Voodoos goalie Ben Auger made 28 saves to record the win while Battalion prospect Jack Ondrovic faced 41 attempts in defeat as the Voodoos earned a point with the OT setback.

Auger, a former North Bay Midget AAA Trapper, was traded to the Crunch by the Voodoos back in October for goalie Matt Young and defenceman James Vuillemot.  

It was Auger’s first action this season against his former team. 

The Voodoos had 6 Battalion prospects in the lineup Saturday as New Liskeard Cubs forward Justin Brazeau, a late Battalion pick in 2014, came in as a call-up Saturday night. 

The Voodoos loss drops their record to 11-16-0-6 on the season.  The Voodoos next action is next Sunday when they travel to Mattawa to face the improving Blackhawks. 

Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. next Sunday at the Mike Rodden Community Centre in Mattawa.