Timmins Rock forward Liam Wells lifts the puck up and over the shoulder of Kirkland Lake Gold Miners goalie John Lloyd for one of his two goals in the NOJHL contest at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Wednesday night. The Rock cruised to an 8-0 victory over their East Division rivals — marking the fourth-straight game they have blanked the Gold Miners this season. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
The Timmins Rock pumped 75 shots at Gold Miners netminder John Lloyd Wednesday night at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex while cruising to an 8-0 victory.
KIRKLAND LAKE — The Timmins Rock pumped 75 shots at Gold Miners netminder John Lloyd Wednesday night at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex while cruising to an 8-0 victory.
It marked the fourth-straight contest in which the Rock have blanked the Gold Miners this season, with 16-year-old Rock goalie Jacob Brown recording his second shutout of the campaign — both against the Gold Miners.
The last time a member of the Gold Miners scored a goal against Timmins was the 13:11 mark of the third period on the opening night of the 2022-23 NOJHL campaign, when John Paul Scaringi beat Patrick Boivin for his first tally of the campaign during an 8-2 home-ice victory for the Rock on Sept. 9.
Since that contest, the Rock blanked the Gold Miners 2-0 in Kirkland Lake on Sept. 10, 3-0 at home on Oct. 11, 4-0 in Kirkland Lake on Oct. 22 and 8-0 in Kirkland Lake Wednesday night.
Offence, or more specifically a lack of offence, has been the Achilles heel of the Gold Miners all season, as they have scored just 38 goals on the season — lowest in the NOJHL, two fewer than the French River Rapids who have played two fewer games.
Fans had barely settled into their seats when newly acquired Rock forward Kaeden McArthur scored what would prove to be the game-winning marker, his fourth goal of the season, at the 2:03 mark of the opening period during his first shift in a Timmins uniform.
McArthur (13, 4-5-9, 2), a Timmins product, started the season with the West Division’s Blind River Beavers, but was dealt to the Rock earlier this week in exchange for a player development fee.
“I was just standing beside the net and the puck happened to hit my stick,” he said.
“It took me a couple of seconds to shoot it, but I scored.”
Getting his first Rock goal so early in his first game with his new team allowed McArthur to relax a little bit.
“It was a big goal to score for me, especially playing for my hometown team,” he said.
“It really changed my game. I wasn’t nervous anymore and I could just play my game.”
Placed on a line with Liam Wells and Ethan Pool, McArthur found instant chemistry with his new teammates.
“I think we definitely have the fastest line in the league,” he said.
McArthur spent last season playing for former Rock coach Corey Beer’s Okanagan Hockey Ontario U18 Prep program (CSSHLE U18: 30, 10-9-19, 10; U18 ‘AAA’: 41, 12-19-31, 12).
“It was definitely a good experience,” he said.
Wells added a power-play marker, his 10th goal of the season, four minutes later to expand the Rock advantage to 2-0.
And Brady Harroun, the NOJHL’s leading sniper, added the first of his two goals on the night and 16th of the season before the opening period had reached the midway mark.
The Rock took that 3-0 lead into the dressing room for the first intermission but they were unable to add to it until late in the second period.
Wells added his second goal of the night and 11th of the season, also a power-play marker, with less than three minutes remaining in the frame.
Then Harroun drove a dagger into the heart of the Gold Miners when he netted his second goal of the game and 17th of the season with 46 seconds remaining on the clock.
Up 5-0 heading into the third period, the Rock continued to press the attack.
Blue-liner Felix Cadieux-Fredette scored his first of two goals in the period and fourth of the season 1:06 into the frame.
Three-and-a-half minutes later, Justin Charette notched his fourth goal of the season.
And Cadieux-Fredette closed out the scoring when he picked up his second goal of the period and fifth of the season at the 8:06 mark.
Wells was happy to net a pair of goals Wednesday night, but disappointed a third tally eluded him.
“I was definitely hoping for a third goal,” he said.
“I have never had a hat-trick before and it didn’t happen tonight.
“On my first goal, I got the puck beside the crease and shot the puck at the goalie and it hit the post and went in. On the second one, I was just standing beside the net and Ethan Pool shot it right at me and it went in the net. I stole that one from him.”
Wells is no stranger to physical play, whether dishing out hits or taking them, and he appeared to be a target of some frustrated Gold Miners Wednesday night.
“It is kind of easy to stay out of the rough stuff when you are up by that much,” he said.
“You are not really in a bad mood, a fighting mood. There is no point in fighting when you are up by that much.”
That said, the contest did feature a fight between Rock forward Lucas Lowe and Gold Miners blue-liner Charlie Pacana late in the third period.
“He is just an animal,” Wells said of his teammate.”
Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was pleased to see his squad earn its third-straight victory.
“It was just a solid effort, from start to finish,” he said.
While Harroun, Wells and Cadieux-Fredette each had two-goal nights, it was another Rock sniper who caught the coach’s eye Wednesday night.
“Justin Charette had been snake bitten a little bit and feeling the weight of that even though he has been playing great hockey,” Perry said.
“These guys put a lot of emphasis on scoring and contributing that way but he has been playing great hockey and it was nice to see him get that monkey off his back.
“I thought Wellsy had a great game, too, he was flying around all night, playing physical but not crossing that line.
“Babs (Harroun), he scores man. He had a couple of nice ones and Cadieux-Fredette has been producing for us this year.
“It just seemed like some of those pucks had eyes tonight.”
And Perry’s coach half was clearly happy with the latest acquisition of his GM half.
“What a start for Kaeden,” he said.
“I am super happy for him. He had not been playing for the last two weeks and this is the team he grew up watching when he was younger.
“It was a nice moment for him to slip on that Rock uniform and get that first one. It was a really special moment for him.”
Dad Shawn McArthur, the voice of Rock home games, was in the stands to watch his son net his first goal with his new team, but was pressed into duty to fill in for the Gold Miners broadcaster once the second period got underway.
“I looked up during the second intermission and he had a microphone in his hand,” Perry said.
The coach was once again impressed with the play of Brown who made a number of key saves to prevent any momentum switch when the game was still close.
“I thought Brownie was fantastic tonight, especially in the second period,” Perry said.
“They came out hard to start the second period and got some good chances, but he made some big saves.”
Brown’s biggest save of the night occurred during the first period when it looked like the Gold Miners were about to end their streak of offensive frustration.
A cross-ice pass to a wide open Gold Miner, with three-quarters of the net unguarded looked like it would result in a sure goal, but the 6-2, 180-pound goalie somehow managed to get across in time to deny the shot.
“I don’t know how he kept that one out,” Perry said.
“These kind of games are hard, when your team has the puck all night and you are kind of sitting there waiting, but he was dialed in.”
Brown, who stopped all 32 shots he faced, earned his fifth win of the season in addition to recording his second shutout.
Lloyd, who blocked 67 of the 75 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Harroun, Wells and Cadieux-Fredette … Rock forward Nicholas Moore served the third game of his eight-game suspension … The Rock went 3-5 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 0-2 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex was 246 … Wednesday’s only other contest saw the Beavers edge the Thunderbirds 4-3 in overtime in Sault Ste. Marie … The Rock will return to action on Saturday when they take on the Red Wings at the Centennial Arena in Elliot Lake. The next home game will see them host the Espanola Paper Kings at the McIntyre Arena on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m.