By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
FRENCH RIVER – Alexandre Brisson scored a pair of empty-net goals to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 4-2 win over the Rapids Friday night at the Noelville Arena.
The victory allowed the Rock (25-10-3-0) to keep pace with the Crunch (27-11-4-1) who edged the Iroquois Falls Eskis 3-2 in overtime Friday night in the battle for second place in the NOJHL East Division standings.
With both teams winning, the gap between the Crunch and the Rock remains at six points, although Timmins has five games in hand.
It was the Rapids who got on the scoresheet first Friday night in French River, as Adrian Nicholas beat Rock netminder Albert Rogers for his third goal of the season 6:37 into the first period.
Wayne Mathieu’s 18th goal of the season, just past the midway point in the frame, got the Rock back on even terms prior to the end of the first period of play, however.
Dean Kiriacou’s first goal in a Rock uniform late in the second period provided the visitors with a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
That goal stood up until the 19:09 mark of the final period when Brisson scored his first goal of the night and 15th of the season into an empty net with Rapids goalie Korlan Vader on the bench in favour of an extra attacker.
That marker would stand up to be the game-winning goal, as Nichols netted his second goal of the night and fourth on the season to pull the Rapids back to within a goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation.
Brisson provided the Rock with a little insurance when he scored his second goal of the night and 16th of the season, also into an empty net, just 11 seconds later and with 18 seconds remaining on the clock.
Rogers turned aside 31 of the 33 shots he faced to earn the victory for the Rock.
Vader blocked 30 of the 32 shots the Rock fired his way and was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — Maxime Lague played his first game in a Rock uniform Friday night … Rock captain Jordan Rendle was sick and unable to dress for the contest … The three stars were Brisson, Vader and Kiriacou … The Rock went 0-2 on the power play, while the Rapids were 0-4 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Noelville Arena was 267 … Friday night’s other action saw the Wildcats defeat the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4-1 in Elliot Lake, the Beavers blank the Soo Eagles 6-0 in Blind River and the Rayside-Balfour Canadians thump the Express 8-1 in Espanola … The Rock will continue their two-game road trip in Powassan Saturday night with a game against the NOJHL-leading Voodoos. The Crunch and the Eskis will play the second half of their home-and-home series at the Jus Jordan Arena. Both games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
Photos by Dal Photography