By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
SAULT, MICH. – The Timmins Rock invaded Donald Trump’s America Saturday night and then beat a hasty retreat back across the border after being beaten at their own game by the Soo Eagles.
Unlike Friday night when a furious third-period rally came up one goal short in a 7-6 loss to the Beavers in Blind River, the Rock showed little life during the third period of a 9-2 loss.
Goals by Jake Sexton, just 1:59 into the contest, and Chris Murphy staked the Eagles to a 2-0 first period lead.
Jacob Palmerio added his ninth goal of the season 1:57 into the second period and Jake Cimarusti followed with his fourth goal of the season before the frame was five minutes old to expand the Eagles advantage to 4-0.
Captain Jordan Rendle netted a power-play marker, his 17th goal of the season, at the 7:21 mark to cut the home side’s lead to three goals, but Landon Hubard’s 10th goal of the season 41 seconds later put the Eagles up 5-1.
Defenceman James Watier scored his second goal in a Rock uniform midway through the frame to make it a 5-2 hockey game in favour of the home side heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Eagles exploded for four unanswered third-period goals, however, to break the game wide open.
Bradley Hofelich, with his second of the season, Murphy, with his second of the night and 16th of the season, Rhett Rampinelli, with his ninth of the season, and Palmerio, with his second of the night and 10th of the season, all found the back of the net behind Rock goalie Matthew Nixon in the frame.
Kade Phipps, of the Eagles, was turned aside 22 of the 24 shots the Rock fired his way to pick up the victory.
Nixon blocked 42 of the 51 shots he faced and was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Saxton, Palmerio and Murphy … The Rock did not dress forward Marcus Blackned (illness) and forward Jacob Shankar (serving the second game of a four-game suspension) … The Rock went 1-3 on the power play, while the Eagles were 4-9 with the man advantage … Official attendance at Pullar Stadium was 546 … Saturday’s other NOJHL action saw the Iroquois Falls Eskis beat the Rapids 3-1 in French River, the Powassan Voodoos double the Gold Miners 4-2 in Kirkland Lake, the Beavers top the Elliot Lake Wildcats 4-1 in Blind River and the Canadians edge the Espanola Express 2-1 in Rayside-Balfour … The Rock will wrap up their three-game weekend road trip with a game against the Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie Sunday afternoon.