Piekarczyk’s pair helps Rock edge Paper Kings

Timmins Rock forward Brady Harroun battles his way into the Paper Kings zone during Saturday night’s NOJHL contest at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex. Harroun had an assist on Lucas Piekarczyk’s third-period game-winning goal, as the Rock edged the Paper Kings 4-3. NOJHL NETWORK

Lucas Piekarczyk’s second goal of the game and 14th of the season snapped a tie and lifted the Timmins Rock to a 4-3 win over the Paper Kings at the Regional Recreation Complex Saturday night.

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

ESPANOLA — Lucas Piekarczyk’s second goal of the game and 14th of the season snapped a tie and lifted the Timmins Rock to a 4-3 win over the Paper Kings at the Regional Recreation Complex Saturday night.

The victory, the second of the weekend for the Rock (19-5-2-2) who blanked the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 7-0 at the McIntyre Arena Friday night, allowed them to maintain their lead over the Hearst Lumberjacks (19-7-2-0) and the Powassan Voodoos (19-7-1-0) atop the NOJHL’s East Division standings.

With eight wins and one shootout loss in their past nine games, the Rock are one of the hottest teams in the NOJHL.

Still, they had to dig themselves out of an early hole Saturday night, as their power play misfired twice in the first period.

Lucas Signoretti’s shorthanded marker, his 10th goal of the season, 3:58 into the contest gave the Paper Kings a 1-0 lead.

Then, just under 10 minutes later, Signoretti added a second shorthanded marker, his 11th goal of the campaign to increase the Paper Kings advantage.

The Rock had a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard less than a minute later when Kaeden McArthur was awarded a penalty shot, but Paper Kings goalie Jake Marois denied his attempt.

It took an additional three minutes, but they were able to beat Marois before the end of the frame, as Lucas Lowe scored his third goal of the season.

And Piekarczyk’s first of two goals in the contest and 13th of the season, 11 seconds into the middle frame, tied things up at 2-2.

Special teams continued to be a big factor for the Paper Kings, though, as Blake Peters-Davey scored a power-play marker, his fifth goal of the season to put the home side in front 3-2 at the 15:48 mark.

But the Rock managed to get back on even terms before the end of the period, as McArthur scored his seventh goal of the season.

That set the stage for Piekarczyk’s game-winning heroics at the 3:42 mark of the third period.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was happy to see his team pick up the two points, but felt his team wasn’t as sharp as it had been on home ice against the Gold Miners Friday night.

“It wasn’t our best effort,” he said.

“Our power play got scored on twice in the first period and obviously that’s a concern because your power play giving up two goals is not a good recipe for success.

“Same (power-play) unit, but they were different breakdowns. We weren’t really backchecking. It just seemed like we were up a guy and we thought it was going to be easy.

“They came with a lot of pressure and we showed them on video before we left their penalty kill applies a ton of pressure up top.

“You have to be careful and we weren’t careful.

“We were chasing it all game, down 2-1, tied it up, down 3-2, tied it up and then finally took the lead.

“It was a good, grind-it-out road win, obviously, not our best, but give them a bunch of credit. They played really well and they played hard.”

During the Paper Kings’ 7-1 loss to the Rock at the McIntyre Arena on Nov. 18, they tried to use their physicality to slow down the speedy Rock, but they took a different approach Saturday night.

“They played (hockey) tonight and they played well,” Perry said.

“Were a little taken back a little bit after our last game, at home. We were confused by their game plan, because they have players who can play.

“They did that tonight and it was a good hockey game.

“I thought we controlled the play and dominated that first period (outshooting the Paper Kings 20-10), but the second and third periods were back and forth.”

A number of Rock players impressed the coach during the road victory.

“I thought (goalie) Patty Boivin played a solid game, especially in the second and third periods, giving us a chance to win the game,” Perry said.

“Nolan Ring was very good tonight. He was all over the ice and played really well.

“Lucas Lowe had a really good game. He is slowly turning into quite the player. He has been very good for us, as of late.

“I thought Nicholas Moore, in his first game back (from an eight-game suspension), was solid and I thought Evan Grigor had a very good game.”

Boivin blocked 30 of the 33 shots he faced to earn his 13th win of the season.

Marois, who turned aside 46 of the 50 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Signoretti, Peters-Davey and Piekarczyk … The Rock did not dress forwards Ethan Pool (upper-body injury) and Justin Charette (upper-body injury), as well as blue-liner Chase Longhurst (upper-body injury) … The Rock went 0-4 on the power play and allowed two shorthanded goals, while the Paper Kings were 1-2 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Espanola Regional Recreation Complex was 143 … Saturday’s other action saw the Voodoos double up the Cochrane Crunch 4-2 in Powassan, the Hearst Lumberjacks knock off the Rapids 4-1 in French River and the Greater Sudbury Cubs defeat the Beavers 5-1 in Blind River. The game in Elliot Lake was suspended with 14:38 remaining in the third period and the Red Wings leading the Soo Eagles 5-4 due to a scoreboard malfunction … The Rock will return to action on Tuesday when they host the Crunch at the McIntyre Arena, at 7 p.m.