KIRKLAND LAKE — Any progress the Timmins Rock made while taking three of a possible four points on the weekend was quickly eroded Wednesday night at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
The Gold Miners scored four power-play goals en route to a 6-1 win over the Rock — their third in three tries this season.
“There power play was obviously clicking very well and our penalty killers did not do their jobs,” said Rock assistant coach James Daschuk.
“They were not putting their bodies on the line. There were very few blocked shots. They weren’t getting in the lanes and they were not winning the little battles.
“We simply got outhustled tonight right from the first puck drop.
“Four power-play goals will win you basically every hockey game you play in.”
Gold Miners sniper Gregory Trudeau-Paquette accounted for the first two of those markers, as his third and fourth goals of the season four minutes apart midway through the opening period staked the home side to a 2-0 advantage.
Captain Quinn Schneidmiller’s second goal of the season, with just under two minutes to play in the opening period extended the Gold Miners’ advantage to 3-0.
The Rock opted to lift starting goalie Nicholas Dicks following the first period, with Tyler Masternak coming on in relief.
That moved slowed the Gold Miners’ roll, but they were able to extend their lead to 4-0 on Joshua Maine’s first goal of the season just over four minutes into the middle frame.
It took the Gold Miners just 23 seconds of the third period to push their advantage to 5-0 when Vinny DeSanctis scored his first goal of the season.
The Rock were finally able to get on the scoreboard eight minutes later when Maxime Charbonneau netted his second goal of the season.
Christian Snyder’s third goal of the season, with just under four minutes remaining in the third period, closed out the scoring and made the final 6-1 in favour of the Gold Miners.
Daschuk agreed the hole the Rock dug for themselves in the first period of the contest was just too large to dig their way out of before the final buzzer.
“They came out flying and we didn’t have a terrible first period, but we took a bad penalty and they scored a power-play goal,” he said.
“We just didn’t have any jump or an answer to that.”
Wednesday night’s setback marks the third time the Rock have struggled against the Gold Miners, with two of those contests played at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
“Honestly, they outworked us 100%,” Daschuk said.
“I don’t think they played that much better than us, but they had the puck on their sticks it seemed like the whole game.
“We were kind of flat and we didn’t want to compete. The guys weren’t laying their bodies on the line for one another.
“It’s not a team game for us right now. There is a lot of individual play and guys just kind of want to do their own thing.
“We played against a team that is flying right now and riding high. They really are playing as a team, those guys.”
The Rock coaching staff thought things were turning around following back-to-back losses to the Gold Miners when they edged the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 4-3 in a shootout and then dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to the Powassan Voodoos on the weekend.
“We came off a huge weekend and you would think everything was going to go well,” Daschuk said.
“We had a good practice Tuesday night, but as soon as we entered the doors of that building (Joe Mavrinac Community Complex), we turned up flat and we put on our individual helmets.”
There weren’t many Rock players who impressed their coaching staff during Wednesday night’s contest.
“Segsy (Derek Seguin) and Roby (Riley Robitaille) every day are our best players,” Daschuk said.
“The other guys aren’t generating any offence right now. If those two guys aren’t scoring right now, we don’t seem to put up many goals.
With the victory, the Gold Miners (5-1-0-0) pulled to within five points of the Voodoos (7-0-1-0) atop the NOJHL’s East Division standings.
Meanwhile, the Rock (2-3-1-0) continue to hold down fourth place in the division, one point behind the Hearst Lumberjacks (3-3-0-0) and one point ahead of the Cochrane Crunch (2-4-0-0).
Gregory Brassard stopped 29 of the 30 shots the visitors fired his way to pick up the victory for the Gold Miners — his third against the Rock this season.
Dicks, who stopped nine of the 12 shorts he faced was tagged with the loss for the Rock. Masternak blocked 22 of the 25 shots directed his way in relief.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Trudeau-Paquette, DeSanctis and Brassard … The Rock went 0-4 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 4-7 with the man advantage … The Rock did not dress defenceman Ian Elkins (healthy scratch), forward Riley Brousseau (healthy scratch), forward Mahingan Decontie (healthy scratch), forward Austin Holmes (healthy scratch) and forward Stewart Parnell (upper-body injury) … Official attendance at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex was 470 … The Rock will travel to Cochrane for a game against the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre Friday night and they return home to host the French River Rapids at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday at 3 p.m
Photos courtesy of CapturingTheMoment.ca