By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
KIRKLAND LAKE – Kevin Ford’s second goal of the game with 52 seconds remaining in the second overtime period lifted the Gold Miners to a 6-5 win over the Timmins Rock Saturday night at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
The Rock who, in the words of assistant coach James Daschuk, were forced to play “catch-up hockey” all night, had forced overtime when Jordan Rendle scored his 19th goal of the season with goalie Jeff Veitch on the bench in favour of an extra attacker in the final minute of regulation.
“We were down 2-0 right away and we battled back to make it 2-1, then boom the next shift its 3-1,” Daschuk said.
“Then, we make it 3-2 and finally tie the game. Going into the third period, we are fresh, finally building a bit of momentum and then all of a sudden it’s gone again.
“Our second and our third periods were better than our first, but I don’t necessarily thing they were good.
“They were OK. We had 19 players dressed tonight, but I don’t think 19 players showed up. A few guys weren’t in the game tonight and weren’t willing to pay the price.
“It’s frustrating because that third line scored four goals. They (Cole Gilligan, Stewart Parnell and Alexandre Brisson) were a bright spot, for sure. They worked hard tonight and it’s never pretty with them, but it just goes to show hard work goes a long way.
“Our guys were on the bench watching them and you would figure some of them would build off what they were doing and try to step up, but that just wasn’t the cast tonight.”
Gilligan and Parnell each finished the night with two goals and two assists, while Brisson picked up four assists.
Goals by Alex Storjohann, his seventh of the season, and Robert Lentini, his first of the campaign, less than three minutes apart allowed the Gold Miners to build up a 2-0 lead during the opening 20 minutes of the contest.
The second marker seemed to handcuff Leitch, who had been acquired by the Rock from the Gold Miners on Wednesday night and was making his first start with his new team.
The Rock were able to cut the deficit to 2-1 early in the second period when Gilligan scored his 13th goal of the season, but Storjohann’s second of the night and eighth of the season restored the Gold Miners’ two-goal advantage at the 12:14 mark.
Parnell’s fourth goal of the season 16 seconds later again pulled the Rock to within one goal, however.
Parnell then added his fifth goal of the season and second of the night four-and-a-half minutes later to tie things up at 3-3.
That’s the way the second period ended, but it took the Gold Miners just 29 seconds of the third period to retake the lead, 4-3, as William Mizuik scored his 12th goal of the season.
Ford then netted his first of two goals on the night and 21rst of the season two-and-a-half minutes later to increase the Gold Miners’ advantage to two goals.
Gilligan’s second goal of the night and 14th of the season at the 12:41 mark cut the Gold Miners lead to 5-4.
That set the stage for Rendle’s game-tying goal and then Ford’s double-overtime game winner, his 22nd of the season.
The Rock had a simple game plan heading into Saturday night’s contest, but they were unable to execute it effectively.
“We knew we had three games in two-and-a-half nights, so our plan was to come in and maybe play a nice little trap,” Daschuk said.
“We were hopeful we could pounce on our chances, but we gave up the two goals right off the bat.
“We had mistakes from guys who have been continuously making mistakes. They just don’t want to change their ways and it’s frustrating.”
The Rock perhaps take some consolation from the fact they were able to escape from Saturday night’s contest with a point, giving them four in the first four games of a tough five-game stretch.
“We are never going to refuse a point, obviously,” Daschuk said, with a chuckle.
“I feel like we are lucky, however, to get that point. I don’t necessarily think we deserve it … maybe because it was a road game.”
Having lost three-straight games — two in double overtime and one in regulation — the Rock know they will be facing a challenge Sunday afternoon when the Powassan Voodoos visit the McIntyre Arena.
“We know who we are going to be playing against,” Daschuk said.
“They have won 19 in a row and it is probably going to be our toughest game of the weekend, obviously. If we don’t show up and we keep making mistakes, we are going to be in tough.
“We have pretty much been able to bounce back all year, though, so I am not too worried. It’s not the mental part of it that we have to overcome, it’s the on-ice brain farts.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with being fatigued. Powassan is playing the exact same schedule we are this weekend. We have no excuses. At least we get a home game.
Gold Miners goalie Ridge Gerards turned aside 34 of the 39 shots the Rock fired his way to pick up the victory.
Veitch stopped 36 of the 42 shots he faced and was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the contest were Ford, Parnell and Storjohann … The Rock did not dress forward Marcus Blackned (undisclosed) and goalie Albert Rogers … The Rock were 0-6 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 2-5 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex was 201 … Saturday night’s other NOJHL action saw the Powassan Voodoos extend their winning streak to 19 by beating the Crunch 4-2 in Cochrane, the Beavers double the Iroquois Falls Eskis 8-4 in Blind River and the Soo Eagles edge the Canadians 2-1 in Rayside-Balfour.