Cochrane Crunch goalie Jake Dubinsky deflects a shot off the stick of Timmins Rock forward Brady Harroun up and over the glass during the first period of Friday night’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. While Harroun was denied on this play, he scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season in the third period as the Rock went on to defeat the Crunch 6-1. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
Kenyon Nyman, the NOJHL’s top scoring blue-liner, set up three goals Friday night at the McIntyre Arena to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 6-1 win over the Cochrane Crunch.
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
TIMMINS – Kenyon Nyman, the NOJHL’s top scoring blue-liner, set up three goals Friday night at the McIntyre Arena to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 6-1 win over the Cochrane Crunch.
The victory allowed the Rock (26-5-3-2) to extend their point streak to 17 games (15 wins, one overtime loss, one shootout loss) and increase their lead over the Hearst Lumberjacks (26-8-2-0) atop the East Division standings to three points heading into Sunday afternoon’s contest at the McIntyre Arena.
Friday night’s decision was the sixth-straight victory for the Rock over the Crunch this season.
One of the keys was the fact the Rock were able to get to Crunch goalie Jake Dubinsky early Friday night, pumping three pucks past him in the opening 20 minutes of action.
In his previous visit to the McIntyre Arena, on Dec. 16, Dubinsky turned in a 73-save performance, although the Crunch wasted it, dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to the Rock.
Hayden Rynard got the Rock scoreboard 5:06 into Friday night’s contest, netting his second goal of the season.
Kaeden McArthur added what would prove to be the game-winning goal 10-and-a-half minutes later when he notched his ninth tally of the campaign.
And Liam Wells followed with his 14th goal of the season with less than three minutes remaining in the frame.
Penalty woes slowed down the Rock in the second period, as referees Robert Gagnon and Jean Belliveau issued the home side five-straight trips to the sin bin.
Michael Leech got the Crunch on the scoreboard 3:38 into the frame when he notched a power-play marker, his third goal of the season.
The Rock got that one back 11-and-a-half minutes later when Lucas Lowe scored his seventh goal of the season, negating a delayed penalty call against the Crunch.
A pair of third-period tallies allowed the Rock to close out the scoring and make the final 6-1 in their favour.
Brady Harroun notched his 26th goal of the season just past the midway point in the frame.
And linemate Lucas Piekarczyk added his 17th goal of the campaign, a power-play marker, three minutes later.
In addition to being the NOJHL’s top scoring blue-liner, Nyman (36, 10-33-43, 12) ranks sixth among all Canadian Junior Hockey League D-men this season.
“Anything I can do to contribute, I will do,” he said.
“I was battling the puck a little bit off the start, trying to get my legs back under me but I was happy with what we did tonight, as a team.”
Nyman was solid on the defensive side of the puck Friday night, as well.
“Preventing goals against is something we really focus on,” he said.
“Our goal differential (goals for minus goals against) shows how dominant we have been in the league this year.”
Nyman is more familiar with Dubinsky than many of his Rock teammates, given they are both products of the Maple Ridge, B.C., minor hockey system.
“He is actually a buddy from back home, so it is always a big game for him when he plays against us,” Nyman said.
“We have played against or with each other pretty much our whole lives.”
The blue-liner has a pretty good idea of why the Rock have had such a tough time beating Dubinsky this season.
“It is different shooting on a southpaw goalie,” he said.
“It changes things up in terms of where you want to place the puck.”
Rock goalie Patrick Boivin stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced to earn his NOJHL-leading 17th win of the season.
Dubinsky, who turned aside 33 of the 39 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Nyman (three assists), Rock captain Nicolas Pigeon (two assists) and McArthur (game-winning goal) … The Rock went 1-5 on the power play, while the Crunch were 1-8 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 806 … Friday’s other action saw the French River Rapids dump the Gold Miners 8-3 in Kirkland Lake, the Voodoos beat the Elliot Lake Red Wings 4-1 in Powassan, the Thunderbirds get past the Espanola Paper Kings 5-3 in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, and the Blind River Beavers edge the Eagles 4-3 in a shootout in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. … The Rock will host the Lumberjacks at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday, at 3 p.m.