2022 was Year of the Rock

Things could not have gone much better for the NOJHL’s Timmins Rock during the calendar year 2022. In addition to having one of the best records in the NOJHL and being ranked No. 15 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s most recent Top 20, members of the Rock — including Captain Nicolas Pigeon, shown celebrating a goal with teammate Kyle Trottier — lead the majority of NOJHL offensive and defensive statistics as the league prepares to exit its annual Christmas break. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

As we say goodbye to 2022 and greet 2023, it is once again time to reflect upon another successful year for the NOJHL’s Timmins Rock.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

The Rock entered the NOJHL’s Christmas break following a 5-2 win over the Hearst Lumberjacks at the McIntyre Arena on Dec. 20, a victory that pushed their current point streak to 16 games (14 wins, an overtime loss and a shootout loss).

It also secured the Rock (25-5-3-2) top spot in the East Division standings, one point up on the Lumberjacks (26-8-2-0), and they have a game in hand on Hearst.

Overall, they trail only the West Division-leading Greater Sudbury Cubs (27-5-2-0), who are one point up on the Rock and have a game in hand.

During the second half of the 2021-22 NOJHL regular season, the Rock went 10-3-4-1 and followed that up with a 7-4-0-0 playoff run.

So, during the calendar year 2022 the Rock’s record was an impressive 42-12-7-3.

Entering the Christmas break, the Rock were the No. 15 ranked team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20, down slightly from the squad’s No. 9 spot at this time in 2021.

As a team, the Rock had scored the second-most goals, 154, in the NOJHL heading into the break, trailing only the Lumberjacks, 155, but Hearst has played one more game to this point in the season.

Defensively, the Rock have allowed 71 goals — fewest in the NOJHL to this point in the campaign.

And their differential (83), goals scored minus goals allowed, is also No. 1 in the NOJHL.

Special teams has, of course, factored into the Rock’s success this season and their power play efficiency, at 26.5 per cent, is tops in the NOJHL, while their penalty kill effectiveness, at 85.7 per cent, is third, trailing only the West Division’s Blind River Beavers (89.1 per cent) and Elliot Lake Red Wings (89.0 per cent).

It doesn’t hurt, either, that they have taken the second-fewest penalties, 326 minutes, in the NOJHL to this point in the season, with only the Powassan Voodoos (268 minutes) spending less time in the sin bin.

From an individual standpoint, the Rock have been even more dominant to start the 2022-23 campaign.

Rock players are either leading, or tied for the lead in all of the NOJHL’s major offensive and defensive categories.

The Rock boast the NOJHL’s two leading scorers in Captain Nicolas Pigeon (56 points) and linemate Brady Harroun (50 points).

Rounding out the Top 5 are Zachary Demers (50 points) and Riley Klugerman (43 points), of the Lumberjacks, and Pierson Sobush (41 points), of the Cubs.

With 25 goals on the season, Harroun is tied with Sobush for the lead in that category, as well.

They are followed by Klugerman (19 goals), Jack Mortson (19 goals), of the Soo Eagles, and Dharan Cap (18 goals), of the Soo Thunderbirds.

Harroun is also tied with Tucker Shields, of the Powassan Voodoos, for the lead in game-winning goals, with six.

Linemate Lucas Piekarczyk is third, with five, followed by Cameron Walker, of the Cubs, and Youssef Chaouachi, of the Thunderbirds, who each have four.

Pigeon, with 44 assists, leads that category, as well, followed by Demers (37 assists), Rock blue-liner Kenyon Nyman (30 assists), Caleb Minns (28 assists), of the Beavers, and Kyloe Ellis (27 assists), of the Cubs.

Nyman leads all NOJHL blue-liners in goals (10), assists (30) and points (40).

In terms of special teams, Harroun’s 10 power-play markers are tops in the NOJHL, followed by Tyler Patterson (nine), of the Lumberjacks, Piekarczyk (seven), and Cap (seven), of the Thunderbirds.

There are five players tied fifth spot with six power-play tallies, Nicholas Frederick, of the Rock, Shields, of the Voodoos, Mortson, of the Eagles, Klugerman, of the Lumberjacks, and Mason Svarich, of the Lumberjacks.

One of the few statistics not led by a member of the Rock is penalty minutes, not surprising given the team’s rank in that category.

Cole Crowder, of the Cubs, is the most penalized player in the NOJHL to this point in the season, with 76 minutes.

He is followed by Zachary Briskey (57 minutes), of the Eagles, Noah Aboflan (52 minutes), of the Beavers, Liam Wells (52 minutes), of the Rock, Calum McGill (49 minutes), of the Red Wings, Ethan Kitsch (49 minutes), of the Lumberjacks, Colin Handy (49 minutes), of the Eagles, and Adam Shillinglaw (49 minutes), of the Lumberjacks.

Perhaps the most important statistic when it comes to goaltenders is wins and Patrick Boivin, of the Rock, is tops in that category, with 16.

He is followed by Noah Beaulne (14), of the Cubs, Ethan Dinsdale (14), of the Lumberjacks, Kannon Flageolle (13), of the Voodoos, and Charlie Burns (11), of the Beavers.

In terms of goals against average, Rock creasemates Jacob Brown (1.75) and Boivin (1.91) are one-two in that category.

They are followed by Burns (2.00), of the Beavers, Beaulne (2.08), of the Cubs, and Landon Miller (2.41), of the Thunderbirds.

Boivin also leads the NOJHL in save percentage, with a .925 mark, followed by Miller (.923), of the Thunderbirds, Burns (.922), of the Beavers, Brown (.922) and Beaulne (.921) of the Cubs.

Brown is tied with Burns, of the Beavers, for the NOJHL lead in shutouts, with four on the season.

They are followed by Boivin (three shutouts), Nathaniel Boyes (two shutouts), of the Cubs, and Cameron Smith (two shutouts), of the Red Wings.

So, while the Chinese Zodiac might have recognized 2022 as the Year of the Tiger, there is amble evidence it was really the Year of the Rock.

And for anybody who might be wondering, according to the Chinese Zodiac 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit.

Time will tell if it, like 2022, will also be the Year of the Rock.