Timmins Rock forward Josh Dickson, right, watches as his one-timer bounces off the twine behind Crunch goalie Michael Nickolau during the second period of Sunday afternoon’s NOJHL game at the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane. Dickson’s first of two goals on the night and 10th of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Rock went on to beat the Crunch 6-1. The two sides will play the seventh game of their 10-game set at the Tim Horton Event Centre on Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
Josh Dickson scored a pair of goals and set up another to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 6-1 win over the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre Sunday afternoon.
It was the fifth win in six tries for the Rock against their NOJHL East Division rivals to start a 10-game set and the second of the weekend, following Friday night’s 9-1 win in Cochrane.
Rock assistant coach Marc Bisson was pleased with the effort put forth by his squad Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t force it,” he said.
“We let the game come to us. I thought we were patient with our opportunities.”
The Crunch managed to keep things close through 20 minutes on Sunday, trailing just 1-0 heading into the first intermission.
Captain Derek Seguin netted the opening frame’s lone marker when he scored a power-play goal, his NOJHL-leading 17th tally of the campaign, after Crunch blue-liner Keaston Blais was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.
“We had some good opportunities in the first period, but we just didn’t capitalize,” Bisson said.
“Come the second period, the puck started bouncing our way a little more.”
A pair of goals just over a minute apart midway through the second period allowed the Rock to increase their advantage to 3-0, however.
Dickson scored his 10th goal of the season at the 9:02 mark and blue-liner Eric Moreau followed with his fourth of the campaign.
The Crunch were able to get on the scoreboard with just under two minutes left in the frame, when Sebastien Ouimet found the back of the net with his ninth goal of the season.
That would be as close as the home side would come to getting back on even terms, however, as the third period was all Rock.
Tyler Schwindt scored a power-play marker, his 12th goal of the season, to increase the Rock lead to 4-1.
It was Schwindt’s sixth goal and 10th point in the past three games against the Crunch.
Then, Dickson added his second goal of the afternoon and 11th of the season, with the Rock once again on the power play, this time with Crunch blue-liner Jackson Grozelle having been assessed a five-minute major for body checking and a game misconduct.
And with just over five minutes remaining in the third period Tyler Gilberds added his fifth goal of the season to close out the scoring and make the final 6-1 in favour of the Rock.
Bisson felt the secret to the Rock’s success on the weekend was simple.
“We wanted to get pucks in deep and get our cycle game going,” he said.
“We feel that is our strength. We thought the first few games of the series we maybe exchanged chances, as opposed to getting pucks in deep, doing the little things.
“That allows our D to activate and that is when we are really playing Timmins Rock hockey. When we are exchanging chances, we are probably turning the puck over at the offensive blue-line.”
That in turn allowed the Rock maintain more sustained pressure in the offensive zone.
“It is all about getting the puck in deep and keeping the puck in deep,” Bisson said.
“It is a matter of chipping the puck in, off the boards and getting to work. It is harder work and not as fancy, but it is definitely effective.”
While the Crunch did an effective job of shutting down Seguin and Dickson Friday night their teammates certainly picked up the slack.
“The line of Schwinny (Schwindt), Gilberds and (Tyler) Patterson was just amazing,” Bisson said.
“They got pucks in deep and did all the small things and they were very successful.
“We know we need to get a fair number of shots on net and we will take rebounds. We will take ugly goals if that is what they are willing to give us.”
Seguin and Dickson combined for five points in Sunday afternoon’s contest.
“It is hard to keep those two guys off the scoresheet,” Bisson said.
“We looked at Friday night and talked to them about it. It was just an anomaly. They didn’t get the bounces they are used to getting but I still thing they had a solid game.
“Coming into today, they are our leading scorers, they are our leaders and we knew they were going to get back to what they do.”
A number of other Rock skaters caught Bisson’s eye, as well.
“Tyler Patterson (still just 16 years old) has been really good,” Bisson said.
“He is hard on pucks, he does the right things, he gets pucks in deep. He is really playing a complete game for such a young man.
“Harry Clark has been phenomenal, as well. He is one of our better players game-in and game-out. He is very dependable and makes the plays that are expected of him.
“He had one heck of a back check today in the second period. That energizes the bench and the guys get excited.
“Nicolas Pigeon has been phenomenal, as well, winning draws. He is so tenacious and such a hard guy to play against. He is not the biggest guy, but he is a physical presence out there.”
Crunch coach, general manager and owner Tom Nickolau was happier with the effort he saw from his players Sunday afternoon.
“We were skating better today and more engaged in the play,” he said.
“The guys worked hard, they skated hard and we deserved better. The two five-minute power plays Timmins had really hurt us.
“When you are shorthanded against a team like this, I think we were shorthanded for close to 20 minutes and that is taxing on the goaltender.
“He (Michael Nickolau) played great in net and kept us in the game. We were a shot away from making it 3-2 in the third period.
“The referees are going to call what they are going to call and we just have to work through it and go from there.”
The coach agreed one of the few things the Crunch did well in Friday night’s contest was shutting down Seguin and Dickson.
“Their third and fourth lines came out to play,” Tom Nickolau said.
“That team is a deep team.”
In addition to his goaltender, the coach was impressed with the effort generated by a number of other Crunch players Sunday.
“Our penalty kill was really, really, really good,” Tom Nickolau said.
“(Matteo) Peca was probably our best player on the ice today. (Tyson) Moore was great, as well.”
Rock goalie Tyler Masternak stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced in the contest to earn his NOJHL-leading 10th win of the season.
Crunch goalie Michael Nickolau, who turned aside 48 of the 54 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of Sunday’s contest were Dickson, Moreau and Peca, while Schwindt, Patterson and Dunford were honoured Friday night … Crunch forward Steven Klinck served the first game of the five-game suspension he picked up for receiving a five-minute major for body checking and a game misconduct Friday night … The Rock went 3-8 on the power play Sunday afternoon, while the Crunch were 0-4 with the man advantage. Friday night, the Rock went 1-7 on the power play, while the Crunch were 0-4 with the man advantage … The Rock and the Crunch will play the seventh game of their 10-game set at the Tim Horton Event Centre on Wednesday, at 6:30 p.m.