GALLERY: Timmins Rock complete sweep of home-and-home series

Rock goalie Jacob Brown made 22 saves to backstop the Timmins Rock to a 4-1 win over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Saturday night. Brown, who shutout the Gold Miners 5-0 at the McIntyre Arena Friday night, earned his 11th win of the season during Saturday night’s contest. FILE PHOTO/THE DAILY PRESS

The Timmins Rock posted a 4-1 victory at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Saturday night to complete a sweep of their home-and-home series with the Gold Miners.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

KIRKLAND LAKE — The Timmins Rock posted a 4-1 victory at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Saturday night to complete a sweep of their home-and-home series with the Gold Miners.

Saturday night’s decision came in the wake of the Rock’s 5-0 win over the Gold Miners in the first half of the series at the McIntyre Arena Friday night.

The sweep allowed the Rock (29-6-3-2) to increase their lead over the Lumberjacks (28-9-2-0) atop the NOJHL’s East Division standings to five points, although Hearst does have a game in hand.

Still, Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was not thrilled with what he saw from his squad Saturday night.

“I am happy we got the two points, but I wasn’t super pleased with our play,” he said.

“The biggest thing is our power play. It’s just not producing. We are not getting good looks, we are not getting good chances.

“It is just a mess right now and we really have to look at that. Maybe we need different personnel out there.

“I don’t know what it is, but we are certainly not working as hard as we need to work.

“We are not being open to trying different looks out there. We just keep forcing the same issue and it is obviously not working out.

“Teams are watching video on us and they know exactly what we are going to do out there.”

Special teams were not the only source of frustration for the coach Saturday night.

“We were a little mentally weak in terms of getting caught up in stuff after the whistle, the chirping, the pushing, the stuff that doesn’t matter,” Perry said.

“At one point, we were down to eight forwards because everybody had 10-minute misconducts.

“The refs warned us before the game, but our guys decided to do it anyways. They all got 10s. I think we need to be a little bit tougher.

“And then we just played a little too careless and easy for most of this game.”

Despite the coach’s frustrations, the Rock clearly did not have any bus legs Saturday night, as they came out flying and outshot the Gold Miners 21-3 in the opening period.

Despite the territorial advantage, however, they were only able to get two pucks past Gold Miners goalie Ethan Barron in the frame.

Justin Charette opened the scoring when he notched his eighth goal of the season at the 14:28 and Captain Nicolas Pigeon followed with what would prove to be the game-winning goal, his 13th tally of the season, just over two minutes later.

The Gold Miners were able to cut the Rock advantage in half thanks to Benjamin Armatage’s eighth goal of the season, with 2:40 remaining in the middle frame.

Yan Bessette, whom the Rock re-acquired from the Espanola Paper Kings at the CJHL’s Jan. 10 trade deadline, restored the Rock’s two goal advantage 8:33 into the third period when he notched his 12th tally of the campaign.

And Nolan Ring closed out the scoring when he netted a power-play marker, his 12th goal of the season, just over two minutes later.

Even though the Rock outscored the Gold Miners 9-1 during the two games, the coach noticed a lot more intensity from their East Division rivals.

“They have got a new coach (Richard Schoeneich) and they have more structure,” Perry said.

“They are playing hard, better hockey. It wasn’t as easy as it was early on in the year, but we didn’t exactly play good hockey the last two nights.”

That said, the coach was happier with what he saw from his squad during Friday night’s home-ice victory.

“Yeah, a little bit, our guys played a solid game at home, played well defensively and got out of our own end quick,” Perry said.

“All six of our D back there had really good nights. It was a good, solid win at home.”

Despite the coach’s frustrations with Saturday’s contest, there were a number of Rock players who caught his eye.

“I thought Yan Bessette had a great game and (Rock goalie) Jacob Brown was great again,” Perry said.

For the second-straight game, the line of Bessette, Liam Wells and Ethan Pool looked effective.

“That’s going to be a really good line,” Perry said.

“Yan is an interesting player. He is big, physical and he cares a lot and he works hard. He was rewarded tonight with a goal. He is really good in front of the net, strong, with quick hands.

“I thought Nolan Ring had a great game, as well, and Nicholas Frederick had a solid game.

“We had a D playing up front, with Tenzin Nyman playing forward and he did a really good job. Chase Longhurst played forward at times and he had a good night. Christophe Petit had a good night.

“There were a handful of core guys who worked hard and bought in and then there were just a lot of passengers tonight.”

The only down side for the Rock during the pair of weekend victories was the loss of Wells to an upper-body injury Saturday night.

“He is day-to-day and hopefully he will be back Saturday,” Perry said.

Brown stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced to pick up his 11th win of the season.

Barron, who turned aside 57 of the 61 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of Saturday night’s game were Bessette (one goal, one assist), Barron (57 saves) and Rock forward Nicholas Frederick (one assist), while Harroun, Pool and Brown were honoured Friday night … The Rock went 1-8 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 0-4 with the man advantage. Friday night, the Rock went 1-5 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 0-6 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex was 205, while 612 fans attended Friday night’s game at the McIntyre Arena … Saturday night’s other action saw the Powassan Voodoos edge the Rapids 5-4 in overtime in French River, the Elliot Lake Red Wings fly past the Beavers 3-1 in Blind River and the Thunderbirds beat the Soo Eagles 3-2 in Sault Ste. Marie … The Rock will return to action when they host the Cochrane Crunch at the McIntyre Arena on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m.

Gallery Photos: Allyson Demers