GALLERY: GAME 2 – Frederick powers offence, Boivin shuts down Voodoos

Timmins Rock forward Nicholas Frederick attempts to jam the puck past Voodoos goalie Kannon Flageolle on the short side during the first period of Game 2 of the NOJHL East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Friday night. Frederick was unsuccessful on this play but he did net a pair of power-play markers, including the game-winning goal, as the Rock went on to blank the Voodoos 5-0 and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Nicholas Frederick scored a pair of power-play goals to back the shutout goaltending of Patrick Boivin as the Timmins Rock blanked the Powassan Voodoos 5-0 in Game 2 of the NOJHL’s East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Friday night.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

TIMMINS – Nicholas Frederick scored a pair of power-play goals to back the shutout goaltending of Patrick Boivin as the Timmins Rock blanked the Powassan Voodoos 5-0 in Game 2 of the NOJHL’s East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Friday night.

The victory gives the Rock a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, with the action scheduled to switch to the Powassan Sportsplex for Game 3 on Sunday.

Like Game 1 in the series, won by the Rock 4-3 Thursday night, the home side held a one-goal lead heading into the third period.

Instead of sitting back and trying to defend that advantage, like they did in Game 1, the Rock continued to press the attack in Game 2 Friday night — pouring three more pucks past Voodoos goalie Kannon Flageolle and another into an empty net.

Frederick’s first power-play marker, his second goal of the playoffs, had staked the Rock to their 1-0 advantage and neither team was able to find the back of the net in the middle frame.

“They were really focused on taking away (Rock forward Brady) Harroun on the power play because he is a big weapon for us and it really opened up a lot of space down low for me and Piesy (Lucas Piekarczyk) to work our magic,” he said.

“We practice that a lot because our bread and butter all year has been the one-timer from Harroun.

“We have five threats on the ice at all times.”

With the Voodoos focused on shutting down Harroun, it was Frederick’s turn to blast home the one-timer and he didn’t miss.

Ethan Pool intercepted a Voodoos pass just inside the Powassan blue-line, cruised down the slot and drilled a shot past Flageolle for his second goal of the playoffs to increase the Rock lead to 2-0.

Frederick then added his second power-play marker of the night and third goal of the playoffs just over four minutes later.

“The puck deflected off my pants and there was a rebound sitting there and I was just fortunate to bear down on it,” he said.

And blue-liner Brandon Rossetti followed with his first goal of the playoffs just over three minutes after that to make it a 4-0 hockey game.

The Voodoos appeared to have an excellent opportunity to get back into the hockey game when Rock forward Yan Bessette was assessed a double-minor for tripping and roughing 11 seconds past the midway point in the frame.

Powassan coach Peter Goulet opted to pull Flageolle in favour of an extra attacker to create a six-on-four opportunity for the Voodoos.

The move backfired, however, when Rock forward Nolan Ring deposited his second goal of the playoffs, a shorthanded marker, into the empty Powassan net.

Now trailing 5-0, Flageolle returned to the Voodoos net and the Rock successfully killed off the remainder of both penalties.

Once the Rock got up by a couple of goals, Frederick liked their chances of being able to secure a second-straight victory.

“They are a trap team and they play a very defensive game, but we are well-coached and know our systems.”

After dropping Game 3 of their East Division semifinal series against the Rapids in French River, Frederick knows the Rock will have to bring their best effort when the series switches to the Powassan Sportsplex.

“We came out flat in that one, but I think we have learned from our experience,” he said.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry liked what he saw from his squad Friday night.

“It was a solid game, from start to finish,” he said.

“With the kind of pressure we can put on and how fast we like to play once we get on teams, it is overwhelming.

“It was just a matter of time before pucks started going in, but it if had to be 1-0, it wouldn’t have changed the way I thought we played.

“We were really good Thursday night, but we were a good hockey team tonight, all through our lineup.”

Special teams were a key factor for the Rock Friday night, as they held a Powassan power play that had capitalized on two of three attempts Thursday night off the scoreboard in five tries.

In addition, the Rock netted a pair of power-play goals and a shorthanded tally.

“It was just a missed read on the PK off a face-off on the first one last night,” Perry said.

“It is not something we go with too often, but we did and it kind of bit us, but out PK was so good tonight.

“Obviously, it starts with the goalie (Patrick Boivin). He has to be your best penalty killer and he was tonight.

“Our penalty kill has been good all year, but it was great tonight.”

The coach admitted choosing which of his two goalies is going to get the starting assignment on any given night is not an easy choice given how well Boivin and Jacob Brown have played all year.

“Jacob has been playing great and they are both so good and they both deserve to be in there,” Perry said.

“He (Boivin) was dialed in tonight and I just had a feeling after having a couple of games off he really wanted to get back in there.”

The coach is one of Frederick’s biggest fans and he certainly liked what he saw Friday night.

“He is a fun player to watch play hockey,” Perry said.

“He is all effort all the time. He is smart, he is tenacious and we are so lucky to have him.

“He is such a great leader for our group and it was nice to see him get rewarded with two goals tonight.”

There was no shortage of other Rock players who made a positive impression on their coach either.

“(Ring) is just a warrior, plain and simple, that’s the best way to put it,” Perry said.

“He does what needs to be done out there and he had a fantastic season and now he is having a fantastic postseason.

“(Pool) was just in a really good spot on his goal, the puck came right to him and he made no mistake.

“It is nice to see him putting them in the net because I know he was snake-bitten a lot this season.

“God, (the Rock blue-liners) are so good back there, all six of them.

“Brandon Rossetti is playing such good hockey for us and Kyle Trottier is the ultimate warrior. Kenyon Nyman, the way he skates, the plays he makes is just unbelievable. Chase Longhurst, is great on the penalty kill, Christophe Petit is great on the penalty kill and Felix Cadieux-Fredette.

“If they keep playing that way, we are going to be a hard team to beat.”

The Voodoos were missing three players from their lineup Friday night and their coach admitted that made things tough for his squad.

“They are all going to be great Junior ‘A’ hockey players, two 2005s and a 2004, and it affected our chemistry a little bit,” Goulet said.

“It’s not an excuse. We battled hard with what we had and it was 1-0 going into the third (period) and we had a chance to win.

“We made mistake on the first goal, that they drew a penalty on and then scored, a bad turnover, trying to move the puck up the middle for no reason, made it 2-0.

“Now, we were chasing a very good hockey team.”

The Voodoos will now focus on defending home ice, so they can get another opportunity to steal a game in Timmins.

“It is very simple,” Goulet said.

“They won their two games at home and now we have to go home and win our two games.

“It is not the first time I have been in this situation and now we just have to respond.

“Definitely the next game is the most important.”

Despite the loss, there were a number of Voodoos who impressed their coach with their effort Friday night.

“Our goalie, Kannon, has been great,” Goulet said.

“He gave us a chance to win Thursday and I think he has been great the whole series.

“Alex Little has been great the whole series, but at the end of the day we need everybody.”

Boivin stopped all 25 shots he faced to earn his first shutout and second win of the playoffs.

Flageolle, who turned aside 32 of the 36 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Frederick, Boivin and Ring … The Rock went 2-4 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 0-5 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 1,311, the largest crowd to watch either a playoff or regular season game in the NOJHL this season … Friday’s only other contest saw the Soo Thunderbirds defeat the Cubs 5-2 in Greater Sudbury to take a 2-0 lead in the West Division final … The Rock will travel to Powassan for Game 3 against the Voodoos on Sunday, at 7 p.m.