Timmins Rock forward Stewart Parnell tips a point shot, but Kirkland Lake Gold Miners goalie Cade McEwen was able to get his right pad on the puck to deflect it harmlessly into the corner during the second period of an NOJHL game at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Friday night. The Gold Miners stormed back from a three-goal third-period deficit to earn a 4-4 tie against the Rock. The Rock will host the French River Rapids at the McIntyre Arena Saturday night. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
KIRKLAND LAKE – The Timmins Rock were fit to be tied Friday night at the Joe Mavrianc Community Centre.
And, coincidentally, so were the Gold Miners — hence the 4-4 draw after double overtime settled nothing.
Neither Rock coach Corey Beer nor Gold Miners bench boss Ryan Wood were totally happy to see a potential second point slip from their grasp.
“I thought at the start of the third period we played probably the best seven or eight minutes of hockey we have played this year,” Beer said.
“We had all of the things we wanted offensively in terms of activation from the points, quality scoring chances and finding the back of the net. I thought our execution was great.
“In the second period, we had been able to press the pace and play good hockey that way.
“The underlying message tonight, however, is if you spend the entire game in the penalty box, you are not going to win hockey games.”
The Rock, who had been shutout in three of their previous four contests, got on the board first Friday night when Derek Seguin scored his third goal of the season, a power-play marker, at the 5:16 mark of the opening frame.
Connor Losen’s first goal in a Rock uniform, also a power-play marker, extended the Rock advantage to 2-0 at the 4:34 mark of the second period.
The Gold Miners were able to get that one back just over three minutes later, however, when William Misuik beat Rock goalie Eric Jackson for his third goal of the season.
Seth Rueben added another power-play marker for the Rock, his second goal of the season, 21 seconds into the third period to increase the visitors’ advantage to a pair of goals.
Then, defenceman Jared Hester put the Rock in front 4-1 when he scored his first goal of the season.
At that point, it looked like the Rock would earn their first road victory of the season, but he Gold Miners had other ideas.
The home side converted on three-straight power-play opportunities to deadlock the game at 4-4 and force overtime.
Max Cavallini started the puck rolling when he scored his fourth goal of the season at the 7:03 mark.
Mizuik then added his second goal of the game and fourth of the season to pull the Gold Miners to within a goal of the visitors.
Hometown boy Marshal Nikatin, the Gold Miners captain, then completed the comeback when he scored his first goal of the season to knot things up at 4-4.
The Rock had a distinct territorial advantage in the first overtime period, a four-on-four session, but the Gold Miners had the best scoring opportunity when Tyler Fyfe broke in all alone, but Jackson made a huge save to keep the score tied.
Then, during the second overtime period, with the two sides playing three-on-three the Rock ran into penalty trouble giving the Gold Miners two power-play opportunities, but it was the Rock who had the best scoring chance when Seguin broke in all alone but he could not beat Kirkland Lake goalie Cade McEwen.
A number of Rock players impressed Beer Friday night, including Losen, a forward who was pressed into service on the blue-line.
“I thought he was our best player on the ice tonight,” he said.
“I thought he was absolutely incredible. His skating and his vision were just lights out. I can’t say enough good things about him.
“I think, as a group, our forwards were pretty good, but we wound up with too many hiccups that cost us in the end.”
While Beer was disappoint the Rock were not able to pick up the extra point, he was pleased they were able to prevent the Gold Miners from doing so, either.
“Eric Jackson made some key saves when they were on the power play,” he said.
“There were a few shots that hit him and they were able to score on the rebounds, but I thought he gave us every chance to win.
“This is one of those nights where if you would have asked me before the game if I would have been happy with one point on the road, I probably would have said yes. The way we lost that second point, however, I just wish we would have had a better outcome.”
Wood, on the other hand, was proud of the way his team battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period, but not happy with how they dug themselves into that hole in the first place.
“We seem to have dug ourselves lots of holes in our games thus far,” he said.
“I think our starts have just not been good enough. It is nice to see the boys battle back when we are down, we don’t have any quit, but we have to find a way to be better right from the face-offs.
“There were a lot of penalties called in this game, so we have to find a way to kill some penalties and make sure pucks don’t go in our net.
“If we can stay out of the box, five-on-five I think we are in good shape against any team.”
The Gold Miners had a simple game plan heading into Friday night’s contest.
“I thought we needed to compete and have a good work ethic,” Wood said.
“We wanted to have a good start and I thought we had a pretty decent start, but then we took a penalty and they scored a goal.
“For the most part, I thought our guys worked pretty hard tonight, especially when we were down.”
Wood had kind words for a number of Gold Miners players following the contest.
“I thought Grabriel Rheault played really well tonight,” he said.
“He has been a very nice addition to this hockey club. He really works hard.
“And I thought Linden Namagoose, who played probably 35 minutes on the point, was very good.
“Calvin Chartrand was very good and it was nice to see Marshal Nikatin finally find the back of the net. He has been snake bit quite a bit this year. Hopefully, the monkey is off his back and we can get him going.
“William Misuik scored a goal as well, but we need that support from the (Zach) Bannisters and the (Declan) Carters. The last two games, those guys haven’t produced like they had been producing. They have to work harder.
“I keep stressing hard work and that is what we need from our guys. We are one of the youngest clubs in the league. We have a lot of 1999(-birth-year)s on this team and a lot of first-year junior players who are making adjustments.”
McEwen stopped 32 of the 36 shots the Rock fired his way for the Gold Miners, while Jackson turned aside 27 of the 31 shots he faced.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were McEwen, Mizuik and Hester … The Rock did not dress defencemen Will Caston (upper-body injury) and James Watier (personal), as well as forward C.J. Bradburn (lower-body injury) … Rock captain Wayne Mathieu was kicked out of the game in the third period after receiving a head-contact minor penalty, a 10-minute misconduct and a second 10-minute misconduct . The Rock were 3-8 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 3-12 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex was 292 … Friday night’s other action saw the Lumberjacks double up the French River Rapids 6-3 in Hearst, the Blind River Beavers edge the Wildcats 5-4 in double overtime in Elliot Lake, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians pound the Express 9-2 in Espanola and the Soo Thunderbirds top the Eagles 3-1 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. … The Rock will return to action on Saturday night when they host the Rapids at the McIntyre Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m.