Head coach has Rock rolling

Successful NOJHL Showcase leads team towards a big road weekend

Andrew Autio
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The Timmins Rock were in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., this week for the annual NOJHL Showcase, where the team proved it was capable of winning games away from the McIntyre Arena.


Hoping to avoid any potential ‘bus legs’ the team travelled down a day early to get in a practice at the historic Pullar Stadium, home rink of the Soo Eagles, on Monday evening.

On Tuesday morning, the Rock battled the Rayside-Balfour Canadians to open this year’s Showcase.

“Maybe not a great start against Rayside, but Vance Meyer did a phenomenal job of making sure we got out of that period 0-0. I thought he was spectacular on some of the saves he made,” said Rock head coach Corey Beer.

He much preferred how the team played in the second and third periods.

“We really got our transition game going, and imposed our forecheck. It certainly made it tough for them.”

Halfway through the second, the game was still scoreless, but the Rock erupted for a trio of goals in a three-and-a-half minute stretch.

Brendan Boyce, Josh Anderson, and Derek Seguin all lit the lamp before Gavin Brown got the Canadians on the board at the 17:23 mark.

Rock winger Karter Renouf added his seventh goal of the season two minutes into the third to round out the scoring. Final shots favoured Timmins 39 to 29.

Meyer stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced to improve his record to 6-0-0. The 17-year-old from Guelph also leads the NOJHL in goals against average (0.99) and save percentage (.954 per cent)

Beer said his team was ‘pretty opportunistic’ when it came to burying their quality scoring chances.

“That’s our team. We’ve got some good skill, and good finishers up front. We want to try and come at teams in waves. It was a great finish against a really good Rayside team.”


The Rock’s next test was an afternoon matchup on Olympic-sized ice against a struggling Wildcats team, who have had the tough luck of playing the majority of their games thus far on the road due to arena issues in Elliot Lake.

But it was the Wildcats who threw the first punch in this game, as Eric Vanderhoff scored the first of his two goals just 14 seconds into the first.

Josh Dickson and Boyce responded with goals for Timmins later in the period though, and the Rock held a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Despite a staggering 21-3 shot advantage for the Rock in the second, the game stayed 2-1 after two periods.

The third was a clinical effort for the Rock, firing 29 more shots at Wildcats goalie Dominic Boily, and scoring six times.

Dickson, Anderson, Tyler Schwindt, Zach Smith, David Laroche, and Stewart Parnell all dented the twine in the period. Final shots were 67 to 11 in favour of Timmins. Tyler Masternak picked up the win to improve to (6-1-1) on the season.

“It was 2-1 heading into third period. They were battling hard. But I think it’s a credit to our guys, sticking to the game plan for 60 minutes, and not getting frustrated. I think over a full game, it’s tough for a lot of teams to skate with us. We’re a pretty active group, and I think that kind of wore Elliot Lake down,” said Beer, noting that in both games between the teams, the Rock fired over 65 shots at Wildcats goalkeepers.

As far as playing on the spacious Olympic-sized ice sheet, Beer said it was a good experience for his team.

“You recognize right away you’re going to have more time and space with the puck. A little bit more room for creativity for our guys, with the way we play, it certainly helped us,” he said, but added the team is looking forward to getting back to normal-sized ice for the rest of the season.


The main focus of the NOJHL Showcase is to allow scouts to be able to see every team in the league play twice in a two-day period, at one location. With their impressive performances, many scouts took a shining to the Rock.

“Especially after the Rayside game, I think it was nine or 10 schools all lined up to talk to our guys, and a couple of NHL scouts talking to us, making us aware of what they liked from us. It was great to see,” said Beer.

The team’s veterans were focused on by NCAA Division 3 scouts, potentially lining up scholarships for next year, but the team’s youngsters also created a buzz.

“The chatter through the pipeline is that some of our 16- and 17-year-olds were absolutely phenomenal, and certainly garnered some interest there, possibly from Division 1 schools,” said Beer. “I think that’s a by-product of the way we’ve been playing, and the positivity of our team right now, and certainly our guys are deserving of the accolades they’re getting.”


The team is now headed on the road for three games, starting on Saturday night in Powassan for what looks like the premier matchup thus far in the NOJHL season.

The Voodoos have won 11 games in a row, and are ranked fifth in the CJHL national rankings. The Rock have won eight games in a row, and are ranked eighth nationally. One of those streaks will come to an end on Saturday. The Voodoos are sitting one point ahead of Timmins in the standings, thanks to the extra point they earned in a 5-4 overtime win at the McIntyre Arena on Sept. 15.

“A good test for both clubs obviously,” said Beer. “It’s October, so you don’t want to put too much emphasis on it. Coming out of this, whichever way it goes, both teams are going to keep their foot on the gas. We’re not trying to make too much of it.”

He said it will be interesting to see the adjustments Powassan has made since the last matchup, and vice-versa.

The Rock outshot the Voodoos 57-31 on Sept. 15.

“If you win this game, you don’t win the league. It’s October,” Beer pointed out. “For us, we’re playing really good hockey right now, and this is a phenomenal test for us, and we’re so excited to play a high-quality team like Powassan, in their barn.”

The Rock will also take on the French River Rapids on Sunday afternoon in Noelville, before heading north for their first visit to Hearst to battle the Lumberjacks on Tuesday night.


Riley Brousseau, an 18-year old left winger, is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury which occurred last Sunday.

Timmins Rock winger Riley Brousseau will be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future after suffering a lower-body injury last Sunday against the French River Rapids. Brousseau has eight points in 12 games played this season.
ANDREW AUTIO/For The Daily Press

“Very tough break. Riley’s been playing really good hockey for us for a year and a bit now. We’ve got our fingers crossed, hoping that he can come back at some point,” said Beer, as the team is awaiting further medical evaluations.

The team will again rely on its exceptional depth to get them through another injury.

“We’ve got a lot of good players on this roster, and most nights, we’re four lines heavy. It’s a new opportunity for somebody else, Riley’s been playing a top-9 role for us, and now somebody else gets vaulted into that position full-time.”

Beer credited the team’s front office for building a team capable of withstanding quality players being out of the lineup. He recalled in his first season in Timmins, the team experienced a relentless barrage of injuries that it just wasn’t able to overcome.

“That’s one of the best things Kevin (Peever, GM) and ‘Packs’ (Eric Paquette, Assistant GM) have set up here with our roster, that there is enough depth through the lineup. You never want to see someone go down with an injury, especially a good kid like ‘Brouss’ is, but it’s an opportunity for someone to get another five or six minutes of ice time, and a role on special teams.”

Brousseau, a Timmins native, has scored two goals, and six assists for eight points in 12 games played this season. He scored 33 points in 53 games as a rookie last season.


The Rock have traded defenceman Alec Brown to the Caledonia Corvairs of the GOJHL.

“We had eight defenceman, and he played forward for the two games he got into,” said Beer. “He had some concussion issues earlier on, and just couldn’t get himself into the lineup. I think this is an opportunity for him to play every night.

“Great kid. We thank him for his time here, I know it was short-lived, but hopefully he’s better for the experience of being with us. We wish him nothing but the best with Caledonia. That’s a real good Junior ‘B’ program, and I hope he contributes to their lineup.”