GALLERY: Lumberjacks snap Rock’s winning streak in penalty-filled contest

Hearst Lumberjacks goalie Ethan Dinsdale stops a point shot deflected in front by Timmins Rock Captain Nicolas Pigeon during the first period of Sunday afternoon’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. Dinsdale made 27 saves to backstop the Lumberjacks to a 4-1 win over the Rock, snapping Timmins’ winning streak at 12 games in front of 1,206 fans on Family Day. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

The Hearst Lumberjacks scored a 4-1 victory over the Rock in a penalty-filled contest at the McIntyre Arena Monday afternoon to snap Timmins’ 12-game winning streak.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

TIMMINS – The Hearst Lumberjacks scored a 4-1 victory over the Rock in a penalty-filled contest at the McIntyre Arena Monday afternoon to snap Timmins’ 12-game winning streak.

It wasn’t what the 1,206 Family Day fans had been hoping to see, as they packed the Mac with the largest crowd of the season.

Actually, referees Dan Ouellet and Justin Punchard called just four minor penalties — three of them assessed against the Lumberjacks — through the game’s first 45 minutes.

That all changed in the contest’s final five minutes, however, as Rock forward Brady Harroun, the NOJHL’s leading goal scorer, and Lumberjacks blue-liner Liam Rampersad dropped the gloves and went toe-to-toe.

By the looks of Rampersad’s face after the tilt, Harroun’s skills as an enforcer are equal to his talents as a goal scorer.

Both players received five-minute majors for fighting and game misconducts.

As it turned out, however, that was just the preliminary, as a full-scale line brawl erupted with 2:01 remaining in regulation.

Brawl might be a bit of an overstatement, as there were no fighting majors issued.

On the Lumberjacks’ side of the leger, Mason Bazaluk received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Riley Klugerman a two-minute roughing minor and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Caleb Labelle two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a game misconduct.

For the Rock, Captain Nicolas Pigeon received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Nolan Ring a two-minute minor for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Three seconds later, right off the draw, the fireworks erupted once again.

On the Lumberjacks’ side of the referees’ scorecard, Gregory Harley got a two-minute minor for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, former Rock forward Tyler Patterson a two-minute minor for interference from the bench, a two-minute minor for roughing and a game misconduct.

For the Rock, Lucas Lowe was assessed a two-minute minor for roughing and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Liam Wells a two-minute minor for cross-checking, a two-minute minor for being the aggressor, a five-minute major for fighting and a game misconduct.

And finally, after the buzzer had sounded to end the contest, Rock forward Nicholas Frederick was assessed a five-minute match penalty for physical harassment of officials.

It goes without saying, but players on both sides could be facing suspensions once NOJHL officials review the video and the referees’ report.

The Rock had actually treated their fans to a solid 40 minutes of hockey Monday afternoon, taking a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.

Following a scoreless opening 20 minutes of play, blue-liner Kenyon Nyman scored a power-play marker, his 11th goal of the season, at the 17:44 mark of the middle frame.

Things quickly fell apart for the home side once the puck dropped to start the third period, however, as Cameron Shepheard scored his fourth goal of the season 48 seconds into the frame to tie things up.

Less than four minutes later, Emile Pichette scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal when he notched his 27th tally of the season to put the Lumberjacks in front 2-1.

The Rock’s hopes of a comeback were then dealt a significant blow six-and-a-half minutes later when Jett Mintenko netted his 13th goal of the season for the Lumberjacks.

Patterson then iced the victory when he deposited his 25th goal of the season into an empty Rock net with goalie Patrick Boivin on the bench in favour of an extra attacker.

That dagger in the heart of his former team was what led to the second of the three altercations.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was not a happy camper following Monday afternoon’s contest.

“We just didn’t have it this afternoon, right from puck drop, we weren’t sharp, we had no jump,” he said.

“They played a good road game, but we just didn’t have it.”

The coach was even less pleased with the extracurricular activities in the contest.

“It’s ridiculous, they play that way all year,” Perry said.

“They try and jump Pigeon. They try and jump Harroun. A 40-goal scorer shouldn’t have to fight if he doesn’t want to fight.

“They jump guys and then they cry about it when guys fight back. It’s coward hockey and that’s the way they play.

“We let them get in our heads a little bit and that’s the way it goes.

“We have what, 15 of a possible 20 points against them? It’s fine. We were on a 12-game winning streak and we were bound to drop one.

“We dropped it, now we get ready for Friday night.”

Despite the loss, the Rock (38-7-3-2) still have a nine point lead on the Lumberjacks (35-11-2-0) in the race for top spot in the East Division standings, although Hearst does have two games in hand.

With eight games remaining in their regular-season schedule, the Rock will not cross paths with the Lumberjacks again this season — unless they meet in the playoffs.

The Rock welcomed back forward Harry Clark for Sunday afternoon’s contest.

“We had used our last card on him and he was in town for reading week (from university),” Perry said.

“Hopefully, he will be able to join us for the playoff run. We have some injuries, so why not put him in there.

“He did a good job.”

Clark spent parts of three seasons with the Rock before heading out to return to university at the start of the season.

In addition to losing the hockey game, Rock forward Hayden Rynard left the contest with a lower-body injury and did not return.

“There is no update yet, but we will see,” Perry said.

“I think it will be day-to-day, but we will see.”

Lumberjacks coach Marc-Alain Begin was pleased with the outcome of the contest.

“They hadn’t lost since we beat them here right after the (Christmas) break,” he said.

“They had been playing some good hockey going towards the playoffs and we had kind of stumbled with a couple of losses the last few weeks.

“So, it was good for the guys to beat a good team on the road.”

For the Lumberjacks, it was a chance to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Rock in Hearst on Feb. 10.

“We have played them four times since the break and they beat us twice in our rink and we beat them twice in their rink,” Begin said.

“It is a good feeling for the guys to come to a hostile environment and play a good solid 60 minutes on the road.”

The Lumberjacks had a solid game plan and they stuck to it Sunday afternoon.

“We know they have a good power play so we wanted to limit their chances,” Begin said.

“They got one, but it was five-on-three.

“Aside from that, we know they are a fast team so we wanted to limit the odd-man rushes and I think our guys bought into the system.

“We were patient and we waited for our chances in the third (period).”

The Lumberjacks also did a solid job of limiting the Rock’s success on the cycle in the offensive zone.

“Our Ds did a good job of trying to kill the cycle,” Begin said.

“I really liked our competitiveness in the third period. Our guys started to get rewarded for their hard work.”

The coach was impressed with what he saw from his goaltender, Ethan Dinsdale, Sunday afternoon.

“When you limit Timmins to one goal on home ice, your goalie plays a big part of it,” Begin said.

“Ethan played a really good game and did not give up a lot of rebounds.

“The five-on-three goal was just a nice shot from Nyman. You have to give credit where credit is due.”

A number of other Lumberjacks caught their coach’s eye in the contest, as well.

“Our 20 year olds really stepped up, especially in the third,” Begin said.

“(Zachary) Demers made a nice play on Shepheard’s goal, then Pichette scored a nice goal.

“We preach to our 20 year olds this is their last kick at the can and they are playing hard.

“The way we produce offence, Jett with the face-off goal, you don’t see that often.

“It was a big pickup for us getting (Tyler) Bortkiewicz and Shepheard at the (trade) deadline and we are happy with their play.”

Dinsdale turned aside 27 of the 28 shots the Rock directed his way to earn his 18th win of the season.

Boivin, who stopped 19 of the 22 shots he faced, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Dinsdale, Pichette and Pigeon … The Rock went 1-3 on the power play, while the Lumberjacks were 0-2 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 1,206 … Monday’s other action saw the Cubs triple the Powassan Voodoos 6-2 in Greater Sudbury and the Beavers double up the Soo Eagles 6-3 in Blind River … The Rock will return to action on Friday when they host the Elliot Lake Red Wings at the McIntyre Arena, at 7:30 p.m.