VIDEO / GALLERY: GAME 1 – Harroun’s empty-net turns into game-winner

Timmins Rock forward Brady Harroun watches as a point shot sails towards the catching glove of Powassan Voodoos goalie Kannon Flageolle during the second period of Game 1 of the NOJHL East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Thursday night. Harroun scored his NOJHL-leading seventh goal of the playoffs in the third period, as the Rock held on to edge the Voodoos 4-3. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS jpg, TD

Brady Harroun’s empty-net goal, with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, proved to be the game-winner as the Timmins Rock held on to edge the Powassan Voodoos 4-3 in Game 1 of their NOJHL East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Thursday night.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

TIMMINS – Brady Harroun’s empty-net goal, with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, proved to be the game-winner as the Timmins Rock held on to edge the Powassan Voodoos 4-3 in Game 1 of their NOJHL East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Thursday night.

Leading 3-2 at the time, Harroun’s NOJHL-leading seventh goal of the playoffs appeared to be icing on the cake at the time.

Its importance grew, however, when Cameron Lemcke netted a power-play goal for the Voodoos with one second remaining on the clock.

Even though the Rock outshot the Voodoos 23-5 during the first period, they trailed the game 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.

Kaedyn Long’s third goal of the playoffs staked the Voodoos to that advantage with 1:01 remaining in the frame.

A pair of tallies 33 seconds apart early in the second period turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead for the Rock.

Ethan Pool, playing his first game of the playoffs and his first contest since Feb. 26, got the puck rolling at the 1:54 mark.

“It felt great to be back competing with the guys,” he said.

“I had a burst of speed coming down the wing and I flipped the puck over him (Voodoos goalie Kannon Flageolle) short side.”

One of the fastest players in the NOJHL, Pool’s speed earned him at least three other excellent scoring opportunities, but his timing was off a little bit after his injury-imposed absence.

“I had a couple of nice chances,” he said.

“I missed a backdoor pass Juice (Justin Charette), but I am really happy we got the win.

“We have a lot more work left to do and it’s going to be a battle.”

Lucas Lowe then added his third goal of the playoffs to put the Rock in front 2-1.

Eight minutes later, Yan Bessette increased the margin to a pair of goals when he netted his first tally of the playoffs.

The Voodoos were able to cut the lead to 3-2 just under four minute later when he notched a power-play marker, his first goal of the playoffs.

It appeared the Rock had restored their two goal advantage later in the frame, but the goal was waved off by the officials.

That left the Rock nursing their one goal advantage until late in the third period when Harroun scored his empty-netter.

Lemcke then followed with his second goal of the playoffs to close out the scoring.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was happy to see his squad hang on to earn the victory Thursday night.

“We put so much emphasis on playing well in our D Zone and you can kind of go to sleep when you are in the O Zone,” he said.

“We need to bury some of those (chances). We made it too easy on that guy (Flageolle) tonight, hitting him in the chest.

“We had no net-front traffic.

“This game was a lot closer than it should have been, but we will take it.”

Rock goalie Jacob Brown was not overly busy until the third period of Thursday night’s contest, when the Voodoos outshot the Rock 10-8.

“Brownie was solid and did a good job,” Perry said.

The coach was also happy to see Pool back in the lineup and using his speed effectively.

“He played really well and it was nice to have him back, that’s for sure,” Perry said.

A number of other Rock players impressed their coach with their effort Thursday night, as well.

“I thought Chase Longhurst had a really good game tonight, he was solid,” Perry said.

“I thought everybody was good. I thought Lucas Lowe had a really good game, Hayden Rynard played a really good game.

“Our D corps was solid through and through. Justin Charette was solid.

“I liked everybody tonight. It was a solid, solid hockey game.”

Friday night, the Rock will be looking to add another victory and protect the home-ice advantage they worked so hard to earn during the regular season.

“You look at last year, in the division final, we lost three of four on home ice, not to compare this year to last year, but it is important,” Perry said.

“We finished first, to ensure we had home ice throughout the playoffs and now we have to protect it.”

After battling a rash of injuries in the final weeks of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs, they did not add any fresh injury woes Thursday night.

“I don’t think anybody is healthy,” Perry said.

“There is a big chunk of our team that is not healthy, but nothing serious.

“They will play through it. They know what is at stake.”

From the Voodoos’ perspective, they know they have to win a game at the McIntyre Arena if they are going to take the series.

After dropping Game 1 of the series, they still have three more opportunities to accomplish that goal.

“I thought we played good, I thought we grinded and kept them to the outside,” said Voodoos coach Peter Goulet.

The coach didn’t say anything particularly inspirational during the second intermission that might account for the Voodoos’ improved play in the third period.

“It just came down to desperation,” Goulet said.

“We were down in the game and when we played Hearst we got outshot 18-5 in the third period, up two goals going into the period.

“They scored to make it 4-3 and we had to score.

“It just comes naturally. The momentum in the game is huge and our guys knew they had to score to tie and get the game to overtime or win it (in regulation).

“I think we had 10 shots in the third period, five, seven and 10, so we got a little better every period, which is nice.”

Right-hand catching goalies, like Flageolle, have given the Rock trouble at various points this season, but the goalie’s strong play had more to do with his ability to stop the puck than which hand he uses to catch it.

“He played great, there was nothing wrong with his game at all,” Goulet said.

“They got one more than we did and that was the difference. We got that one at the end and it was nice to get that goal.”

Flageolle wasn’t the only member of the Voodoos who caught their coach’s eye Thursday night.

“Alex Little is so good, and he has been good for us all year,” Goulet said.

“Tucker Shields was solid and I thought Chase Strychaluk had a good game.

“I thought a lot of our older guys stepped up and played well. The younger guys, a lot of them are in their first playoffs.

“Obviously, we had a couple of guys banged up in the game.”

Brown stopped 19 of the 22 shots he faced to earn his fourth win of the playoffs.

Flageolle, who turned aside 45 of the 48 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Pool, Flageolle and Brown … The Rock went 0-1 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 2-3 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 1,106 … Thursday’s only other contest saw the Soo Thunderbirds defeat the Cubs 5-2 in Game 1 of the West Division final in Greater Sudbury … The Rock will entertain the Voodoos in Game 2 of the East Division final on Friday, at 7 p.m.

“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel