THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS Blind River Beavers goalie Garret Boyonoski makes a pad save on a shot from Timmins Rock forward Keegan McMullen as Rock forward Riley Robitaille, left, and Beavers blue-liner Max MacNaull look on during the first period of Saturday night’s NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena. The Beavers wrapped up a three-game weekend road trip by edging the Rock 4-3 and snapping Timmins’s six-game winning streak. The Rock will take on the Powassan Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday, at 4 p.m.
The Blind River Beavers wrapped up a successful three-game weekend road trip by edging the Timmins Rock 4-3 at the McIntyre Arena Saturday night.
With the victory, the Beavers headed back to Blind River with five of a possible six points from the trip, while the Rock saw their six-game winning streak snapped in the process.
After falling behind 3-1 during the game’s first two periods, the Rock rallied to tie things up in the first five minutes of the third period.
Matt Capisciolto’s “celebration” of the game-tying goal — his second of the game and sixth of the season — got under the skin of both Rock coach Corey Beer and his Blind River counterpart, Kyle Brick.
“The thing that really hurt was when Capi scored and then promptly celebrated in front of their bench to taunt them,” Beer said.
“That was just an embarrassing display and totally unacceptable. It got their team going. It was exactly what they needed to shove it up you know where.
“It was not something this team is very proud of and it is not us.”
Brick wasn’t happy with the incident either.
“They had a player taunt our bench and that kind of lifted our guys up a little bit,” he said.
“That was all the motivation we needed.”
The Blind River coach was pleased to see Beer address the situation promptly on the Timmins bench.
“That shows the kind of class act guy Mr. Beer is,” Brick said.
“Hey, they are kids and stuff like that is going to happen. We were very fortunate today to get the win.”
It took the Beavers less than four minutes to respond to Capisciolto’s gestures, as Ryan Peck scored a power-play marker, his second goal of the season, to make it a 4-3 hockey game.
Even though the Rock were able to kill off six of the eight shorthanded situations they encountered in the contest, the constant parade to the box made it difficult for Timmins to maintain any flow in the view of their coach.
“We couldn’t stay out of the penalty box tonight,” Beer said.
“Our gaps were really bad from the back end and we gave them all kinds of room and it ended up biting us.”
The Rock pressed for the equalizer in the final two-and-a-half minutes of regulation, but they were unable to get the puck past Blind River goalie Garret Boyonoski — even after they lifted netminder Nicholas Dicks in favour of an extra attacker.
It was the Rock who got on the scoreboard first Saturday night, with Capisciolto scoring the first of his two goals on the night and fifth of the season at the 5:53 mark of the opening period.
The Beavers were able to tie things up at 1-1 before the end of the frame, however, when Tyler Nott netted his seventh goal of the season with just under three minutes remaining in the frame.
A pair of unanswered second-period goals — both coming off the stick of blue-liner Ryan Mulligan — gave Blind River a 3-1 lead.
The second of Mulligan’s two tallies, his fifth goal of the season, was a power-play marker.
The Rock got a power-play marker of their own 3:30 into the third period, as Josh Dickson found the back of the net for his second goal of the season to pull the home side to within a goal of the Beavers.
Capisciolto then tied things up with his second of the night and sixth of the season, setting the stage for the dramatic finish that saw the visitors secure the victory.
Beer was clearly impressed by the play of Boyonoski in the Beavers’ net — especially during the third period.
“What a performance,” he said.
“That last save on (Riley) Robitaille was a lot tougher save than most people think. It was off his stick pretty quick and he made a heck of a save.
“Their guys were good on the back end and their goalie was great.
“For us, there were some parts of the game where we were playing good hockey down low.
“It’s just one of those things. I think our guys were reading their press clippings. ‘Hey, we are on a winning streak and we can do whatever we want.’
“They have got to learn they have got to show up every night. There are no easy nights in this league. When we scored that first one, I think our guys thought it was going to be an easy one.”
Asked which of his players impressed him with their effort Saturday night, Beer responded, “Nobody. I don’t think it would be right to single anybody out tonight.”
Forward Tyler Hutchinson — acquired from the Pictou County Crushers, of the MJHL, in exchange for blue-liner Alexis Quane-Arsenault — made his Rock debut Saturday night.
“He has a big body (6-4, 221 pounds) and he moves pretty well,” Beer said.
“He is a tenacious forechecker and he did a not bad job on the power play, with a presence in front of the net.
“Hopefully, he can get up to speed on our systems as quickly as possible and help us down the stretch.”
Brick was happy to see the Beavers — who started off their three-game trip with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Crunch in Cochrane on Thursday and then knocked off the Lumberjacks 4-1 in Hearst Friday night — finish up with another victory Saturday night.
“That has kind of been the trend this whole road trip,” he said.
“We haven’t rolled over at all. During the (second) intermission, we told our guys they were going to have to weather a storm in the third period.
“We knew Timmins would be coming at us. Sure enough, they potted two goals.”
Brick was impressed with the play of his goalie — especially in the third period.
“That is just Garret,” Brick said.
“we have come to expect that type of play from him. That’s what he brings every night he steps on the ice. His compete level is unmatched by anyone in the league and he gives us a chance to win every time he is between the pipes.”
Mulligan’s play — in both the offensive and defensive zones — didn’t go unnoticed, either.
“The kid is a stud,” Brick said.
“He is banged up, but I don’t think there is anyone better than him in the league. He is just a warrior for us, game-in and game-out. He is one of our leaders and an all-around great hockey player.”
A number of Blind River players also caught their coach’s eye Saturday night.
“I thought (Caleb) Serre was really good and so was Tyler Nott,” Brick said.
“They logged some hard minutes this whole weekend. It is hard to play your third game in three nights and those guys drew the hard match-ups tonight against the Seguin line and I thought they handled it very well.”
Overall, Brick is pleased with his team’s trip through a very tough northern part of the East Division.
“We usually don’t have that much success on this trip, so we are really happy,” he said.
Saturday night’s victory allowed the Beavers (10-5-1-0) to move into sole possession of top spot in the West Division standings — one point ahead of the Soo Thunderbirds (10-3-0-0) and the Rayside-Balfour Canadians (9-7-1-1).
Despite the loss, the Rock (10-5-1-0) remain tied with the Powassan Voodoos (10-5-1-0) for second place in the East Division standings — five points behind the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (13-3-0-0) and two points ahead of the Cochrane Crunch (9-7-0-1).
Boyonoski turned aside 34 of the 37 shots the Rock directed his way to earn his third win of the season for the Beavers.
Dicks, who blocked 21 of the 25 shots he faced, was tagged with the loss for the Rock.
NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Mulligan, Capisciolto and Boyonoski … The Rock went 1-5 on the power play, while the Beavers were 2-8 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 716 … Saturday’s other action saw Lumberjacks double up the Powassan Voodoos 6-3 in Hearst and the Eagles derail the Espanola Express 6-1 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. … The Rock will entertain the Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday. Game time is set for 4 p.m.