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GALLERY: Masternak adds to NOJHL career shutout record

Rayside-Balfour Canadians forward Nicholas Faught tries to gain control of a rebound in front of Timmins Rock goalie Tyler Masternak during the first period of Sunday night’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. Masternak stopped all 20 shots he faced to record his NOJHL-record 17th career shutout as the Rock went on to blank the Canadians 2-0, sweeping their two-game weekend series. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Tyler Masternak turned aside all 20 shots he faced to record his NOJHL-record 17th career shutout as the Timmins Rock blanked the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 2-0 at the McIntyre Arena Sunday night.


Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
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Tyler Masternak turned aside all 20 shots he faced to record his NOJHL-record 17th career shutout as the Timmins Rock blanked the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 2-0 at the McIntyre Arena Sunday night.

It was the fourth-straight victory for the Rock over the Canadians to start the 2020-21 NOJHL campaign after they followed up a pair of wins in Sudbury with a 7-2 triumph on home ice Saturday night.

Special teams once again played an important factor for the Rock in Sunday night’s contest.

Following a scoreless opening frame, the Rock ran into some penalty woes in the second period.

Captain Derek Seguin was assessed a double-minor for tripping 30 seconds past the midway point of the frame.

Penalty killer Nicolas Pigeon was then sent off for roughing just over a minute later — presenting the Canadians with a golden opportunity to take the lead.

The Rock’s NOJHL-leading penalty kill — now operating at a 95 per cent efficiency rating — had other ideas, however.

Then, with just 48 seconds remaining in the second period, Canadians blue-liner Carter Geoffroy was sent to the sinbin for hooking.

And it took Rock D-man Brendan Boyce just four seconds to convert on the man advantage, as he potted his second goal of the young season, to stake the Rock to a 1-0 lead.

The Rock were able to nurse that lead until late in the third period when blue-liner Eric Moreau deposited his second goal of the season into an empty Canadians’ net with goalie David Bowen on the bench in favour of an extra attacker with 59 seconds remaining on the clock.

Boyce came close to picking up yet another empty-net goal when he blasted the puck from his own zone, off the post and out, but in the end it would not matter as time expired with the Rock enjoying their 2-0 advantage.

Rock coach Corey Beer was pleased to see his squad turn in yet another solid performance and frustrate the Canadians who have now gone down to defeat in seven-straight games over the past two seasons.

“That was an awesome game to be part of,” he said.

“Even some of the guys, Seguin, Boyce and Dickson, were talking about the raw intensity and doing the small things that matter tonight to win this game.

“They were so excited and it was awesome to see.”

Given the caliber of goaltending at both ends of the rink, the coach was not surprised to see so few pucks enter the net.

“Both Masty and Bowen were fantastic again,” Beer said.

“That five-on-three kill we had for almost two minutes and then the kill at the back half of the second Seguin penalty was a momentum changer for us.

“It just encouraged the guys on the bench to keep going, keep pressing. We knew we were going to get our opportunity.

“We work on set plays all the time and that power play face-off, with (Zach Smith) Smitty winning it back and (Evan Beaudry) Beauds over to Boyce for that first goal … it was the small details and people look at that sometimes and go, ‘Great shot, great goal’ but there is a lot of work that goes into that, with the pick and doing things the right way.

“That’s a game changer right there. Two points on the board because of attention to detail.”

The Canadians might be 0-3-0-1 on the season now, but Beers feels they are a lot better than their record would indicate.

“We are facing such a great hockey team over there, top to bottom, and Bowen is the X factor,” he said.

“When he is on, it is tough. The only bonus for us is our guy is right there with him, save for save, if not better some nights.

“Fortunately for us, we have done a great job in front of Masty and he has bailed us out a lot of times.

“You try and find different ways to get to a goaltender and obviously there was a bit of an accident there with Segs coming through, but you try to screen him, pepper him, whatever it is, but nothing throws him (Bowen) off his game.

“We got lucky with that set play on the power play and that was all we needed.”

The coach breathed a big sigh of relief after Moreau’s empty-net market gave his squad a two-goal advantage.

“Eric came over and said to me on the bench, ‘Hey, do we want to run a certain D Zone face-off?’” Beer said.

“They had been jumping it, but on the fly we adjusted it and went with something different and it ended up on his stick and it goes 200 feet for a goal.

“That’s the culture we have built in here where guys have the comfort to come up to us and ask for an adjustment. With what they are seeing, let’s adjust for them.

“It works out perfectly. The guy who reads that properly ends up scoring the goal.

“You can’t draw it up any better.”

In addition to picking up the shutout, Masternak earned his third win of the season, while lowering his goals against average to 0.67 and improving his saves percentage to .971.

Bowen, who was tagged with the loss, turned aside 26 of the 27 shots the Rock directed his way.

ROCK 7 CANADIANS 2

Seguin scored a pair of goals — including the 75th of his career — and assisted on a third to help lead the Rock to a 7-2 win over the Canadians in their home opener at the McIntyre Arena Saturday night.

Early on, it looked like the visitors might earn their first victory of the season when Oliver Smith beat Rock goalie Gavin McCarthy — making the first start of his NOJHL career at the 4:22 mark of the opening period.

It took just over a minute, however, for the Rock to get back on even terms, thanks to Tyler Schwindt’s second goal of the young season.

Then, just past the midway mark of the opening period, the Rock took a lead they would not surrender as Smith netted his first goal of the season to make it a 2-1 hockey game.

With just 45 seconds remaining in the frame, Seguin notched his first of two on the night and second of the campaign, with the Rock on the power play to send the home side into the first intermission up 3-1.

Harry Clark notched his first goal of the season 2:15 into the second period to put the Rock in front by three goals.

Seguin’s second power-play marker of the night and third goal on the season then put the Rock up 5-1 two-and-a-half minutes later.

It appeared the Rock had taken a 6-1 advantage in the final seconds of the frame, but the referees ruled time had expired prior to Moreau’s lazer beam entering the net.

The Rock remained on the power play to start the third period, however, and Josh Dickson picked up his second goal of the campaign 30 seconds into the frame to officially make it a 6-1 hockey game.

With the final outcome all but decided, the Canadians struck for a power-play marker of their own when former Cochrane Crunch sniper Owen Perala found the back of the Rock net with his first goal of the season.

The scoring wasn’t quite done yet, either, as Schwindt notched his second goal of the night and third of the season with just 42 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Rock coach was once again impressed with the play of his top line, featuring Seguin, Dickson and Henry Brock.

“They have such great chemistry, the three of them,” Beer said.

“They play on the power play together and you look what happened the first two games of the year, big layoff, rusty, we had no exhibitions and special teams is going to favour the penalty kill, 100 per cent.

“We looked at it and we said, okay we are starting to get some good chances, we are a little bit snake bitten.

“Then, we come back in last night’s game and three times on the power play, bang, bang, bang and it is the veteran guys, Segs and Dicksy tapping her in.

“Henry Brock made a great power move out of the corner, all of those small details we emphasize, and it is huge when special teams can be than much of a factor.”

Schwindt’s offensive production has not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff, either.

“He is one of those guys you think is skilled and we saw him come on last year with 15 goals and when he starts play with confidence with the puck his speed is an X factor,” Beer said.

“He has got a great shot and when he becomes accurate with it, it is a real game changer for us.

“I am so happy to see him get rewarded with a great start. He deserves it.

“He is a phenomenal locker room guy. You hear him on the bus and he gets the guys going as good as anybody. Nobody does a pre-game lineup card read like Tyler Schwindt. He is something else and we absolutely love him.”

Clark, who made a solid impression with the Rock as an affiliate player last season, continues to shine, as well.

“He is sneaking good,” Beer said.

“We sent in a goal correction. He will have a goal and two assists off Saturday night’s game.

“He came into camp and kept doing his thing, kept working and now he has got himself in a position where it is not even the offence. The offence is a bonus for him.

“He is stopping on pucks and winning loose puck battles. He is chipping pucks out keeping the game simple.

“He has got good anticipation in terms of the D Zone coverage and those things matter.”

The Rock coach was impressed with what he saw from his rookie goalie Saturday night.

“On the last goal, it was kind of a tricky one and he might want to hold his post a bit better but that first one we kind of fell asleep on it in front of him and they got the tap in,” Beer said.

“Otherwise, it was a tremendous night for him. He is 17 years old but you would never know it. Talking to him, you would think you were talking to a 30 year old.

“He is just so mature beyond his years. Even in practice, his work ethic is off the charts.

“We joke as a staff and call him Mini Masty. His talent is so incredible. It is great for him to get his first game under his belt and his first win.”

McCarthy turned aside 16 of the 18 shots he faced to pick up his first NOJHL victory.

Meanwhile, Jake Marois — also making his NOJHL debut — was tagged with the loss for the Canadians, while blocking 21 of the 28 shots the Rock directed his way.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game Sunday night were Masternak, Boyce and Bowen, while Seguin, Smith and Clark were honoured Saturday night … The Rock went 1-3 on the power play Sunday night, while the Canadians were 0-3 with the man advantage … Sunday’s other action saw the Lumberjacks thump the Cochrane Crunch 9-5 in Hearst and the French River Rapids derail the Express 8-2 in Espanola … The Rock will travel to Rayside-Balfour for a game against the Canadians Thursday night before returning home to close out their six-game series at the McIntyre Arena on Saturday, at 8:30 p.m.