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GALLERY: Late goal lifts Rock to win over NOJHL-leading Cubs

Timmins Rock forward Lucas Piekarczyk lifts the puck up and other the shoulder of Greater Sudbury Cubs goalie Noah Beaulne for his 10th goal of the season despite having defender Kyloe Ellis draped all over his back during the first period of Sunday afternoon’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. Piekarczyk’s goal gave the Rock a 1-0 lead in a game they would go on to win 5-4. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Nicholas Frederick’s goal with 3:11 remaining in regulation lifted the Timmins Rock to a 5-4 win over the NOJHL-leading Sudbury Cubs at the McIntyre Arena Sunday afternoon.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

TIMMINS – Nicholas Frederick’s goal with 3:11 remaining in regulation lifted the Timmins Rock to a 5-4 win over the NOJHL-leading Sudbury Cubs at the McIntyre Arena Sunday afternoon.

It was the final game of a three-game road trip through northern part of the East Division for the West Division-leading Cubs who edged the Lumberjacks 2-1 in Hearst Friday night and blanked the Crunch 3-0 in Cochrane Saturday night.

For the Rock, it was their second-straight win against a division-leading opponent after they beat the Lumberjacks 4-2 in Hearst Thursday night.

The Rock’s No. 1 line that accounted for three of the four goals in Thursday night’s victory was in fine form Sunday afternoon, as well.

Winger Lucas Piekarczyk for the puck rolling when he scored his 10th goal of the season midway through the opening period, with linemates Nicolas Pigeon and Brady Harroun each earning an assist on the play.

It appeared the Rock would carry that one-goal into the first intermission, but the Cubs got back on even terms with 40.38 seconds remaining on the clock as Cameron Shanks scored his fifth goal of the season.

It took the Rock just 54 seconds to regain the lead, however, when the puck dropped on the second period, as Harroun scored a power-play marker, his 14th goal of the season.

Once again the Cubs battled back to tie things up, at 2-2, a minute later, with Cole Crowder scoring his 11th goal of the season.

Blue-liner Kyle Trottier’s second goal of the season put the Rock back in front, 3-2, just over four minutes later.

And Harroun’s second tally of the game and 15th of the season then increased the Rock advantage to two goals.

The Cubs were not about to give up, however, and they got one back before the end of the frame, with Cameron Walker netting a power-play marker, his 10th goal of the season.

And Billy Biedermann added his 12th goal of the campaign just shy of the nine-minute mark in the third period to deadlock the score at 4-4.

That set the stage for Frederick’s game-winning heroics.

Harroun, who now leads the NOJHL with 15 goals, was quick to share credit with his linemates for his success.

“On the first one, I got a great feed from Pige (Pigeon),” he said.

“That’s what he is known for, great passes. My job is just to put it in the net, so that’s what I did.

“It was a one-timer. He put it right on the spot and all I had to do was touch it and it went in.

“The second one was another great play from Pige. He passed it to me in the slot and I caught the goalie going sideways, shot it far side and got lucky.”

Heading into Sunday afternoon’s contest, Cubs goalie Noah Beaulne was one of the top netminders in the NOJHL.

“We knew he was hot, but we knew we just had to get pucks to the net,” Harroun said.

“We are a great offensive team. I think we are the best offensive team in the league, so it was just a matter of time until we broke out.”

Overall, the line of Harroun (two goals, one assist), Pigeon (no goals, four assists) and Piekarczyk (one goal, no assists) accounted for eight scoring points Sunday afternoon.

“Nicolas Pigeon was the best player out there tonight, in my eyes,” Harroun said.

“He played unbelievable tonight.”

While Harroun leads the NOJHL in goals and sits in third place in the scoring race, with 30 points on the season, he feels he has more he can contribute.

“I haven’t been playing my best hockey all year, but I am going to start bringing it,” he said.

“I just have to keep up the consistency and playing with those two guys is really easy. I played with Piekarczyk last season for parts of the year and Pige is really easy to adapt to out there.”

That’s great news for Rock fans and should strike dread in the hearts of the NOJHL’s other 11 franchises.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was happy to see his squad turn in another solid effort against a quality opponent.

“It was a really good hockey game against a really good team,” he said.

“I thought we gave them one (goal), with a little mistake inside our blue-line on the 4-3 goal, just trying to do too much with the puck.

“Gift wrapped that one for them, but other than that I thought we played a really solid game.”

The coach was especially pleased to see his squad win the game in regulation after the Cubs had battled back to tie it up.

“That’s my guy (Frederick) right there,” Perry said.

“I don’t think he was happy with himself for taking that penalty when we were on the power play. I know it was just a harmless play, lifts the guy’s stick and it falls out of his hands, just doesn’t look good, sometimes an easy call for the ref to make.

“You could tell he wasn’t happy with himself and I didn’t know how he was going to impact the game, but you could just tell he was going to do it at some point.

“Did I know he was going to score? No, but I knew he was going to do something to help us win and he did it. He has that kind of character.”

The coach was also again happy — for the most part — with his top line Sunday afternoon.

“Like I have been saying, your best players have to be your best players and they were this afternoon again,” Perry said.

“Nicolas Pigeon is a pretty incredible player and he absolutely dominated this game.

“I didn’t like the giveaway where he was trying to do too much inside the blue-line and I think he knows that, but man what a dominant performance.

“At times, he was hanging onto the puck a little too much but that pass he took off the wall and backhanded it out to Babs (Harroun), that’s next-level stuff.

“He is an incredible player and he was certainly our leader tonight. He put the team on his back and man he was good.”

While Rock goalie Patrick Boivin gave up four goals Sunday afternoon, he made some key saves when his team needed them.

“Patty is solid, that’s why we brought him in here during the summer,” Perry said.

“He is a difference maker and he was solid. I bet if you talk to him he would probably want a couple of those goals back but he got the job done.

“At the end of the day, all we care about is scoring more goals than the other team.”

The coach was pleased with the overall effort he got up and down his bench Sunday afternoon.

“It was a team win,” Perry said.

“I thought everybody was good, Nolan Ring, Justin Charette, I thought Thomas Beard had a good game, Lucas Lowe always seems to bring us some energy. On the back end, nobody battles harder than Trottier, Felix Cadieux-Fredette and obviously Kenyon Nyman. He is a next-level player, as well.

“Up and down our lineup, everybody was really good this afternoon.”

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise productive road trip for Darryl Moxam’s Cubs.

“It was one heck of a hockey game, both ways,” he said.

“I said it last time when they were in our building, that’s a very veteran hockey club over there, with a lot of experience.

“Give them time and space, with breakdowns on the defensive side of the puck and they are going to put it in the back of the net.

“It was a tough, long weekend for our guys and it was tough to not at least pick up a point but you press the reset button and we get a chance to get right back at it.

“Right now, there is a lot of parity and if you don’t show up and play your best game every night you are not going to win in this league.”

While the coach would have liked to have seen his team salvage at least a point, he was happy they were able to overcome the 4-2 deficit.

“Since the start of the year, we have wanted a workman-like mentality, not too high, not too low, and they did show some character,” Moxam said.

“We are a young hockey club that’s finding ways and learning how to win as a group and that’s just an example.

“We will learn from it and move forward.”

Despite the loss, there were a number of Cubs who caught their coach’s eye Sunday afternoon.

“I thought Bieds (Biedermann) was good and I then you take our two 16 year olds (Nolan Newton and Marshall McCharles), I thought they were our best forwards this afternoon,” Moxam said.

“They battled hard all game and I thought our forwards were pretty good, for the most part.

“I don’t like to pick out individuals, win or lose, but I thought there were a number of bright spots, just not enough to come away with the two points.”

Boivin went the distance in net for the Rock, stopping 32 of the 36 shots he faced along the way to earn his ninth win of the season.

Beaulne, who turned aside 24 of the 29 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Harroun, Crowder and Frederick … Both the Rock and the Cubs went 1-3 on the power play … Rock forward Nicholas Moore served the second game of his eight-game suspension … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 705 … Sunday’s other action saw the Lumberjacks triple the Crunch 6-2 in Cochrane and the Soo Eagles fly past the Rapids 3-1 in French River … The Rock will return to action on Wednesday when they take on the Gold Miners at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex in Kirkland Lake. Their next home game will be on Friday, Nov. 18, when they host the Espanola Paper Kings at the McIntyre Arena, at 7:30 p.m.