GALLERY: Patterson leads Rock past Crunch

Game Photos: Emily Martin

Tyler Patterson scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 3-1 win over the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre Friday night.

Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
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The victory allowed the Rock (14-2-1-0) to close to within a single point of the Powassan Voodoos (13-2-3-1) atop the NOJHL’s overall standings and they still have two games in hand on their East Division rivals.

With the loss, the Crunch (2-16-1-1) remain dead last in both the East Division and NOJHL’s overall standings.

Even though the Rock picked up the victory Friday night, assistant coach James Daschuk didn’t feel they were anywhere near as dominant as they had been 24 hours earlier when they blanked the Gold Miners 5-0 in Kirkland Lake.

“The shot clock was in our favour (42-20), but that is only half the battle,” he said.

“We came away with the two points, but it was certainly a 180 from last night’s game.

“As far as effort goes, we just didn’t have it. We are happy with the two points, but a little disappointed with the way we handled ourselves tonight.”

Given Cochrane’s struggles this season, Daschuk admitted the Rock might have taken their opponents a little too lightly.

“I think that’s a little bit of it, to be honest,” he said.

“No disrespect to those guys over there, but obviously their record is what it is.

“Our guys probably took a look at that and got a little bit excited, but you have to give Cochrane a lot of credit. They played really well tonight.”

Even though the Rock outshot the Crunch 17-5 in the opening 20 minutes they were only able find the back of the net once in the first period.

Justin Charette accounted for that marker, as he scored his fourth goal of the season just past the midway point in the frame.

The Crunch battled back to tie things up at 1-1 at the 9:36 mark of the second period, with Ethan Ingram netting a power-play marker, his fifth tally of the season.

It took the Rock just 33 seconds to regain their lead, however, Patterson scored the first of his two goals on the night and fourth of the season.

The Rock carried that one-goal lead into the second intermission, but got a little breathing room when Patterson found the back of the net for his second goal of the night and fifth of the season with the Rock on the power play at the 9:35 mark of the third period to close out the scoring seal the 3-1 victory.

Daschuk was once again impressed with the effort put forth by Charette.

“Juice (Charette) got a great goal tonight,” he said.

“It wasn’t anything fancy, it was just a hard-working goal for that tline. They just basically worked the puck down low.

“When things aren’t going well, that is kind of what you preach to your guys, just keep working hard down low and that’s what that line did on that play.

“I was really happy for him. He has been playing really well lately, so he was certainly deserving of that goal.”

Patterson earned a little extra praise from the assistant coach, as well.

“Both of his goals and in fact all of our three goals were from in close,” Daschuk said.

“That’s the way we are going to beat that big goaltender (Michael Nickolau).

“You talk about it and you talk about it but some guys just refuse to go to the net but when we went to the net tonight we were rewarded.

“One of Patty’s goals was a tap in, while the other one was a deflection from up close.”

The Rock gave up just the one goal in the back-to-back road games, demonstrating that even though they didn’t bring their ‘A’ game Friday night their defensive play was still pretty solid.

“I guess as a staff we are probably a little bit harder on the guys, knowing the potential that is there, but things just weren’t smooth tonight,” Daschuk said.

“Giving up just the one goal is fantastic, especially on the road, but sometimes you just have to bang out those greasy road wins.

“You take the two points, pack up the bus and go home, move on from there.

“Good teams find ways to win and that’s pretty much what we did tonight.

“Our power play was not great for the first four or five opportunities, then Patty batted his second one in on the power play. It seemed like the sky was falling at one point and then all of a sudden we got a power-play goal.”

It would be hard to find fault with the way goalie Gavin McCarthy played in the back-to-back victories, as he stopped 38 of the 39 shots he faced in the two games.

“Gavin was pretty good again tonight,” Daschuk said.

“He didn’t have many shots, but they had a couple of good scoring chances. There were a few where he had to come over post-to-post pretty hard.

“It is a good thing we had him in net tonight.”

The Rock were without the services of forward Nicolas Pigeon (serving the third game of a four-game suspension he picked up after being assessed a five-minute major for kneeing during an 8-2 win over the Crunch on Nov. 5), blue-liner Bode Dunford (serving the second game of a two-game suspension he picked up for disrespectful, abusive and harassing behavior at the end of a 4-2 loss to the Rapids in French River on Nov. 6) and forward Liam Wells (serving a one-game suspension he picked up for being assessed an instigator penalty during Thursday’s 5-0 win over the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake), as well as coach and general manager Brandon Perry (serving the second game of a two-game suspension he received for leaving the bench without clearance from the referee at the end of the Nov. 6 contest).